Pleasingly reflective of familiar childhood inner and outer wanderings, this picture book encourages little readers’ feet...


A little panda's feet, snug in yellow moon boots, turn everyday walks into extraordinary adventures.

They tread through the "thick jungle" (a vegetable garden), up "tall mountains" (a green knoll), over a "creaking bridge"(a log), and even into "the ocean" (a rain puddle). And that's just the morning! In the afternoon, those feet sit "very, very quietly" while the panda feeds "little dinosaurs" (bobbing birds). The ingenious incongruity between these imagined assertions and the realities keenly illustrated on these pages will delight children, who are intimately privy to the all-consuming power of pretend play. These uncluttered illustrations, in wintry purples, blues, greens, and browns, stretch across the length of two pages, suggesting an elasticized, unhurried narrative spun out of a young mind. Pencil drawings, made fuzzy and haloed by digital coloring, appear both specific and gauzy—an ambivalence that works in a story about unspooling imagination. The young narrator reads as a bit ambiguous, its long, string-bean body looking little like a roly-poly panda. Though the panda is gendered male in flap copy, the text is entirely in the first person, so the protagonist can be interpreted flexibly. The day described, however, with its swing rides, sandbox castles, bath-time splashes, and bedtime books, greatly resembles many children’s quotidian pleasures.

Pleasingly reflective of familiar childhood inner and outer wanderings, this picture book encourages little readers’ feet and minds to run on and on. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-553-51164-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

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This ambitious, interactive exploration of color will be of particular appeal to dog lovers.


A chunky board book about colors features photographs of dogs and incorporates many interactive elements.

Even the front cover of this title is interactive. Pull a large red tab, and a bulldog’s head moves back and forth as he chews on the shoelace of a red tennis shoe. Inside, further interactive features, rhyming text, and illustrations featuring cute pups and their adorable antics await. For example, the orange pages offer a collage of pumpkins, autumn foliage, puppies, and a cat, reading: “Orange the patch of pumpkins, / Orange the autumn leaves, / Orange the frumpy, napping cat… / that I chase up a tree.” One of the pumpkins is a flap that conceals the face of a precious pup, and another, larger flap hides a pop-up tree branch on which an orange kitty perches. Other pages incorporate some more noxious surprises, such as: “Green the swamp I love to swim in, / Green the summer grass, / Green the color of the air… / when my dog food gives me gas.” Pull the tab here to trigger a large green cloud that emanates from the back end of a suitably embarrassed-looking basset hound.

This ambitious, interactive exploration of color will be of particular appeal to dog lovers. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-4986-1

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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Willems’ formula is still a winner.


From the Pigeon series

The pigeon is back, and he is filthy!

Readers haven’t seen the pigeon for a couple of years, not since The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? (2012), and apparently he hasn’t bathed in all that time. Per the usual routine, the bus driver (clad in shower cap and bathrobe) opens the story by asking readers to help convince the pigeon to take a bath. Though he’s covered in grime, the obstreperous bird predictably resists. He glares at readers and suggests that maybe they need baths. With the turn of the page, Willems anticipates readers’ energetic denials: The pigeon demands, “YEAH! When was the last time YOU had a bath?!” Another beat allows children to supply the answer. “Oh.” A trio of flies that find him repulsive (“P.U.!”) convinces him it’s time. One spread with 29 separate panels depicts the pigeon adjusting the bath (“Too wet!…Too cold.…Too reflective”) before the page turn reveals him jumping in with a spread-filling “SPLASH!” Readers accustomed to the pigeon formula will note that here the story breaks from its normal rhythms; instead of throwing a tantrum, the pigeon discovers what readers already know: “This is FUN!” All the elements are in place, including page backgrounds that modulate from dirty browns to fresh, clean colors and endpapers that bookend the story (including a very funny turnabout for the duckling, here a rubber bath toy).

Willems’ formula is still a winner. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9087-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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