Go, dogs! Go? This book kicks it up a notch. Drive, dogs! Drive!


From the I Like To Read series

A rainbow of brightly colored vehicles brings this newest entry in the I Like To Read series to Technicolor life.

Cars, trucks, boats, buses, and more are on wild display in this peppy, easy book. In each double-page spread, one type of transportation presents itself in wild array. The “Cars go” page, for example, yields one finned roadster with a Starry Night–esque paint job, some that seem dipped in every possible hue, and a couple on the subtler end that just sport a single color. The art shows swirls, spots, splats, patterns, and gentle color gradations. The same treatment is applied to the other vehicles, most driven by dogs (the fire engines have all-Dalmatian crews, natch) in various attitudes of glee that communicate easily despite the cartoon simplicity of their renderings. In one double-page wordless display, all of the vehicles come to a screeching “Stop” (signaled on the page before) when a family of ducklings crosses with mama in the lead. Everyone safe? Then “Go. Go. Go.” The sheer energy contained in these images guarantees that children just starting to read will be as floored by the artwork as they are by the sweet rides. Though ideal for the earliest of readers, the subject material found here is bound to appeal to pre-reading vehicular enthusiasts as well.

Go, dogs! Go? This book kicks it up a notch. Drive, dogs! Drive! (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4643-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

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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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Fun format; bland text.


From the Block Books series

A hefty board book filled with ruminations on the nature of love.

While love is the topic of this board book, it’s the inventive gatefolds and charmingly vintage illustrations that readers will fall for. Brimming with sweeping declarations along the lines of “Love is / strong. // You have my back and I’ll always have yours,” the text sounds like a series of greeting cards strung together. It’s benign enough, but are most toddlers interested in generic proclamations about love? Some statements, like the ones on “unsinkable” hippos or a panda parent holding a cub “steady,” could introduce new vocabulary. At least there’s plenty of winsome critters to fawn over as the surprisingly sturdy flaps tell dramatic little ministories for each cartoon-style animal species. A downcast baby giraffe looks longingly up at a too-high tasty branch; lift a flap to bring an adult giraffe—and the delicacy—down to the baby, or watch an adventurous young fox retreat into a fold-down–flap burrow to learn that “my heart will always be home with you.” At points, the pages are tricky to turn in the correct order, but clever touches, like a series of folds that slow readers down to a sloth’s speed, make up for it. The book concludes with a gatefold revealing a vibrant playground populated with racially and ethnically diverse humans; two are wheelchair users.

Fun format; bland text. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3153-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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