Serviceable content slightly marred by inconsistent illustrations.

DOG MEETS DOG

From the I Like To Read series

One dog shows another dog the ins and outs of friendship.

When Big Dog meets Little Dog, Big Dog says “Be my friend.” But “What is a friend?” Little Dog asks. Well, as Big Dog explains, friends “have fun!” They ride the train to the zoo. They board the bus to see boats. They even take a rocket to the moon. Illustrations depict the pair of canines engaging in each of the activities. When snow comes one day, Big Dog decides to take a bath. Little Dog gets his boots and goes out the door alone. The page turns, and—“Oh, no!”—Little Dog falls and gets buried in the snow. Big Dog hears Little Dog’s bark (“WOOF! WOOF! WOOF!”). But can he find and rescue his new friend? This endearing friendship story is Myers’ first new work in decades. The limited vocabulary of around 70 words and their variants and the circular plot make the text accessible to emerging readers. Though the loosely drawn cartoon illustrations are playful, some inconsistencies are distracting. Still, the ample white space and limited color palette add to the text’s accessibility. Most pages feature only animals, but those that depict children show a variety of skin tones. Even though both dogs are anthropomorphic, Big Dog wears only a sweater, and Little Dog wears no clothing.

Serviceable content slightly marred by inconsistent illustrations. (Early reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4451-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow...

THE BOOK HOG

A porcine hoarder of books learns to read—and to share.

The Book Hog’s obsession is clear from the start. Short declarative sentences describe his enthusiasm (“The Book Hog loved books”), catalog the things he likes about the printed page, and eventually reveal his embarrassing secret (“He didn’t know how to read”). While the text is straightforward, plenty of amusing visual details will entertain young listeners. A picture of the Book Hog thumbing through a book while seated on the toilet should induce some giggles. The allusive name of a local bookshop (“Wilbur’s”) as well as the covers of a variety of familiar and much-loved books (including some of the author’s own) offer plenty to pore over. And the fact that the titles become legible only after our hero learns to read is a particularly nice touch. A combination of vignettes, single-page illustrations and double-page spreads that feature Pizzoli’s characteristic style—heavy black outlines, a limited palette of mostly salmon and mint green, and simple shapes—move the plot along briskly. Librarians will appreciate the positive portrayal of Miss Olive, an elephant who welcomes the Book Hog warmly to storytime, though it’s unlikely most will be able to match her superlative level of service.

There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow bibliophiles, and the author’s fans will enjoy making another anthropomorphic animal friend. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-03689-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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