Simple words can still surprise with adventure and humor. Cowabunga! (Early reader. 6-9)

MR. PUTTY & TABBY HIT THE SLOPE

From the Mr. Putter & Tabby series

Who would have thought that a balding white homebody and his orange cat could become beloved stars of a long-running series for first- and second-graders?

In the 25th installment of the ongoing saga of Mr. Putter and Tabby, Mr. Putter waxes nostalgic about the joys of sledding. Then ever ready and daring neighbor Mrs. Teaberry, also white, produces sleds. The adventurers take off—down the hill like a rocket after her bulldog, Zeke, and his cat, Tabby, who also share a sled. The expressions of horror on Tabby's face are priceless. The après-sledding comfort of a warm bath, muffins and cream, and a cozy chair are palpable. Rylant proves once again that it is possible to turn an elegant phrase, even with a limited word list. “The next thing Mr. Putter knew, / he had no sled, / no cat, / and no fun. / Fun was already halfway down the slope.” The arrangement of the simple, declarative text, with repeated words lined up, helps beginning readers decode and read fluently. Howard's pencil, watercolor, and gouache illustrations both reflect the text and provide contextual cues as well as adding to the subtle humor.

Simple words can still surprise with adventure and humor. Cowabunga! (Early reader. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-15-206427-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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