A colorful start for beginning readers.

CAT LIKES RED

From the I Like To Read series

A cat explores colors on a busy day.

Cat—a brown tabby—wakes up, stretches, and yawns as light beams in. Dotted lines trace Cat’s footsteps as they exit the kitty door and explore outside their home. Cat stares at a red ladybug (“Cat likes red”). The page turn yields to a full double-page spread, painting an entire scene in a red wash. Readers can pick out multiple red objects in the background (“Red is nice”). The formula repeats as Cat moves to the next isolated color, yellow. Cat spots a bee (“Cat likes yellow”), and the page turn reveals a yellow-washed farm scene (“Yellow is nice”). Other colors include green, blue, pink, orange, and black—with black signifying nighttime as Cat sleeps (“Good night”). Comics creator Russo’s first children’s book makes good use of his expressive character-design skills. The simple text, consisting of 13 unique words, seven of which are colors, allows readers to focus on the detailed scenes and practice color recognition. White space serves as an effective palate cleanser between the full-color spreads as Cat moves from one color to the next, with the words for the colors on those pages printed in appropriately colored type. The cover gives nod to all the creatures—and colors—Cat will encounter on their adventure, further helping emerging readers make predictions. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-16-inch double-page spreads viewed at 67% of actual size.)

A colorful start for beginning readers. (Picture book/early reader. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4587-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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Willems’ formula is still a winner.

THE PIGEON NEEDS A BATH!

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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A cozy read for bibliophiles.

SNOWMAN'S STORY

With echoes of “Frosty the Snowman” in the background, a snowman’s storybook within this wordless book delivers a comic wintertime romp.

Woodland creatures build a snowman, giving him a green book as a finishing touch. This addition comes right after a windswept top hat lands on his head, vivifying him à la Frosty. Hidden inside is a rabbit (it is a magic hat, after all); attentive readers will have seen the hat first on frontmatter pages and then with the bunny in the double-page spreads before the early ones devoted to the snowman’s construction. The snowman reads his book aloud to the animals, with the rabbit surreptitiously listening in, its ears poking out of the top of the hat. When the others all drift off to sleep, the bunny emerges and steals away with the book. A chase ensues across snowy terrain and through a series of pages (perhaps a few too many for good pacing) replete with comic-style panels. When the animals and snowman confront the rabbit in its tree-hollow home, its motivation for book thievery is revealed: This bunny has a family and wishes to share the story with its children. All’s well that ends well, and the animals convene (safely outside and away from the rabbit family’s crackling fireplace) to read together.

A cozy read for bibliophiles. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4787-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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