Fans will definitely want to visit the publisher’s website to check out the extras, while newcomers will either do the same...

PETE THE CAT AND HIS FOUR GROOVY BUTTONS

In his third outing Pete the Cat follows the pattern of his previous appearances: Despite repeated wardrobe malfunctions, he maintains his upbeat attitude and bouncy charm.

This time around the focus is on the buttons on Pete’s favorite shirt, instead of his shoes, and there’s even a bit of math involved. Still, for readers who have met Pete previously there’s not much here that’s new. Pete moves from his cozy chair to a skateboard to the street outside to a surfboard on top of an old-style Volkswagen Beetle. In each spot, for no apparent reason, one button pops off. The repeated refrain asks “Did Pete cry?” and answers “Goodness, no! Buttons come and buttons go.” As a song it’s likely perky, but read aloud, the text can seem tedious and overlong. Still, the brightly colored, childlike paintings and playful typography should keep kids’ attention, and some will also enjoy identifying the large numerals as they count backwards from four to zero. A final twist finds Pete admiring his bellybutton, which will always be with him unlike the “stuff” that “will come and…go,” offering the option of a mildly anti-consumerist message for parents who choose to emphasize it.

Fans will definitely want to visit the publisher’s website to check out the extras, while newcomers will either do the same or let Pete go, depending on their taste. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-211058-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

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A comical, fresh look at crayons and color

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THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT

Duncan wants to draw, but instead of crayons, he finds a stack of letters listing the crayons’ demands in this humorous tale.

Red is overworked, laboring even on holidays. Gray is exhausted from coloring expansive spaces (elephants, rhinos and whales). Black wants to be considered a color-in color, and Peach? He’s naked without his wrapper! This anthropomorphized lot amicably requests workplace changes in hand-lettered writing, explaining their work stoppage to a surprised Duncan. Some are tired, others underutilized, while a few want official titles. With a little creativity and a lot of color, Duncan saves the day. Jeffers delivers energetic and playful illustrations, done in pencil, paint and crayon. The drawings are loose and lively, and with few lines, he makes his characters effectively emote. Clever spreads, such as Duncan’s “white cat in the snow” perfectly capture the crayons’ conundrum, and photographic representations of both the letters and coloring pages offer another layer of texture, lending to the tale’s overall believability.

A comical, fresh look at crayons and color . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25537-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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