Everyone’s indeed a winner here, and the subtle message about safety consciousness is likewise right on track.

BIKE & TRIKE

A battered old tricycle and a new bike make friends—but not without hitting a few bumps in the road.

Lulu and Trike have been together for years…but Lulu keeps getting bigger, and one day a brand-new birthday bike sails into the garage: “Watch this trick,” he crows, popping a wheelie and zooming through Hula Hoop. Ignoring Trike’s cautions about safety (“Aw, back off, old-timer”), Bike proposes a riderless race to the nearby woods. And so they’re off, with Trike struggling to keep up (“You can DO this,” he tells himself, “for Lulu and the way the two of us flew”). Then, seeing Bike careening heedlessly toward a cliff, Trike selflessly puts on an extra burst of speed to head off disaster with a mighty collision. “I guess I have a lot to learn,” says penitent Bike, and back to the garage they go, “two winners on wheels.” Verdick tells the tale in a characteristic mix of exuberant sound effects and euphonic phrasing, with short sentences making the relatively high page count fly. Along with kitting out shiny Bike with splendid streamers, lights, training wheels, and even a horn, Biggs pairs Lulu at the end with an equally thrilled little brother (both white) just the right size for a hand-me-down.

Everyone’s indeed a winner here, and the subtle message about safety consciousness is likewise right on track. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1517-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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This seemingly simple tale packs a satisfying emotional punch. Scarily good! (Picture book. 4-7)

LOVE MONSTER

Monster lives in Cutesville, where he feels his googly eyes make him unlovable, especially compared to all the “cute, fluffy” kittens, puppies and bunnies. He goes off to find someone who will appreciate him just the way he is…with funny and heartwarming results.

A red, scraggly, pointy-eared, arm-dragging monster with a pronounced underbite clutches his monster doll to one side of his chest, exposing a purplish blue heart on the other. His oversized eyes express his loneliness. Bright could not have created a more sympathetic and adorable character. But she further impresses with the telling of this poor chap’s journey. Since Monster is not the “moping-around sort,” he strikes out on his own to find someone who will love him. “He look[s] high” from on top of a hill, and “he look[s] low” at the bottom of the same hill. The page turn reveals a rolling (and labeled) tumbleweed on a flat stretch. Here “he look[s] middle-ish.” Careful pacing combines with dramatic design and the deadpan text to make this sad search a very funny one. When it gets dark and scary, he decides to head back home. A bus’s headlights shine on his bent figure. All seems hopeless—until the next page surprises, with a smiling, orange monster with long eyelashes and a pink heart on her chest depicted at the wheel. And “in the blink of a googly eye / everything change[s].”

This seemingly simple tale packs a satisfying emotional punch. Scarily good! (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 31, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-374-34646-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

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Nice enough, but its twinkle is on the faint side.

TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE KID

A boy gets an unusual payoff after wishing on a star.

Sitting outside one night, Clyde notices a lone star in the sky. He recites the “Star light, star bright” incantation and makes a wish. Disappointed when it doesn’t come true, he returns home. But later, while he’s asleep, the star he’d wished on sneaks into his bedroom and makes a wish on him! Startled awake, Clyde wonders how to grant Star’s wish. He shares some ideas (and actual objects) with her: a game of checkers, tent camping, tossing a Frisbee, and walkie-talkies. Star likes them, but they’re not her wishes; Clyde confides there’s no one to enjoy them with—and wonders if perhaps Star had wished for a friend. No one will be surprised at what Clyde next confesses to Star. The pair winds up playing together and becoming besties. This is a sweet but thin and predictable story about making friends. Still, readers will appreciate meeting feisty, celestial Star. The author reaches for humor using colloquialisms (“freaked out”), and kids will like the comfortable familiarity that develops between the cheery protagonists. The colored-pencil illustrations are rendered in a limited palette of mostly dark blues and purples, appropriate to the nighttime setting. Star is a luminous, pale yellow with a white topknot and has a star-dappled aura around her. Purple-pj’d Clyde wears bunny slippers and presents White. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough, but its twinkle is on the faint side. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-399-17132-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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