With a neat musical twist, this picture book grows on you.

ROOFTOP GARDEN

A community grows plants to the tune of an original song.

In an unnamed city, neighbors, friends, and families gather to grow a garden on the roof of a colorful building. The community members, of various skin colors, ages, and backgrounds, happily plant seeds, mark rows of veggies, water soil, and harvest food used to cook up a feast that they all enjoy together. The timeline is compressed, and the frustration that sometimes comes with gardening is omitted. However, the joy of growing one's own food and enjoying it with others comes through loud and clear: “A garden feast! Oh, what a treat. // Prepare the food and take a seat.” The singsong text, which is narrated in rhyme with repetition of the first and last lines of each quatrain, doesn’t highlight any particular characters or families. The words are actually lyrics to a song composed for the book and sung by British vocalist Holly Torton. While the lyrics might work better when sung rather than read, the book can be appreciated for its effort at combining music with instructional storytelling. Aguilera's colorful illustrations keep things lively with motion and busy activity on the crowded pages; each scene is full of people interacting with each other and working hard toward a common goal. The backmatter includes a musical score for the song, tips to start a garden, a primer on the stages of plant growth, and a QR code to access tie-in media online. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

With a neat musical twist, this picture book grows on you. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 16, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-64686-495-9

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Barefoot Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.”

NOODLE AND THE NO BONES DAY

Graziano tells the story of his TikTok-famous pug, Noodle.

Noodle is a silly, stubborn old pug who likes walks and snacks. “He’s a pug who knows what he wants.” Jonathan, his light-skinned owner, loves taking Noodle for walks and sharing snacks—they are a perfect pair. But one day, when it’s time for a walk, Noodle just lies in his dog bed. Even when Jonathan tries to make Noodle sit up, Noodle flops back down. “It’s like he doesn’t have bones!” says Jonathan. Noodle doesn’t seem sick—he just wants snacks and to stay in bed. Finally, Jonathan asks if Noodle would just like to snuggle instead and receives a strong affirmative from the drowsy pug. Together Noodle and his human enjoy a relaxing “no bones day” and learn an important lesson about rest and why it matters for silly, stubborn old pugs and for the humans who love them, too. Many may already be familiar with Noodle through his TikTok videos (if Noodle remains standing when Graziano lifts him, it’s a “bones day”; among Noodle’s followers, a “no bones day” has come to mean a day for self-care and taking it easy). However, this story stands alone and will likely create new fans for a long time to come. Hand-drawn and painted digitally, Tavis’ illustrations rely on a muted palette and rounded images, depicting an appropriately cozy world. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.” (author's note) (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66592-710-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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