All the fun of imagination without the mess of reality.


A young boy imagines the riot that would ensue if his house were overrun with wild animals.

“The lions would roar as they sprawled on the floor. / The lemurs would lollygag right by the door. / My daddy would try to sit down in his chair. / He’d holler and whoop with a porcupine there!” The hodgepodge of animals ranges from forest chipmunks and savanna giraffes to Australian kangaroos and even an octopus. And they all come with mischief in mind. Pinder neatly describes the chaos that this bunch could cause. From ruining the furniture and eating all the food to taking up the comfiest places, they would eventually leave no room for the boy and his family, relegating them to sleeping outside. And in fact, the boy wisely decides in the end that, as much fun as all the animals might be, he will be satisfied with just his cat and dog. The rhyming verses have a nice rhythm, and a repeated refrain allows listeners to join in. Brown uses a similar style to his illustrations in Lindsay Craig’s Farmyard Beat and Dancing Feet (2011, 2010), but the corrugated-looking collages that incorporate photographic elements are not as successful here. The details tend to get lost in all the texture. Still, the animal antics are priceless, and the boy’s transformation from joyful participant to disgruntled observer is easy to see.

All the fun of imagination without the mess of reality. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-316-09883-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2012

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Willems’ formula is still a winner.


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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Daddy-and-child dog lovers can try some of these canine ways of expressing affection.


Puppies celebrate the many ways their dads are awesome.

“Daddies are playful. / They swing you around. // You ride on their shoulders / or hang upside down.” The first spread pictures a scruffy pup, mouth clamped on its dad’s tail, hanging. The second features a long dachshund, his four pups using the large expanse of his back as a jungle gym or resting spot. The husky dad is labeled as daring, brave, and strong, while the hound takes his pup on adventures (digging and hiding under a bush). Other dog dads give kisses and tickles, tell bedtime stories and help count sheep (a stuffed toy), and help their pups grow (challenging them with stairs and carrying them when the going gets tough). Lovšin creatively interprets some of the text that applies well to kids but not so well to canines: dad and pup at each end of a long stick held in their mouths is the dog equivalent of holding hands. Though many dog breeds will be familiar, some are just mutts, though all are shown caring for and enjoying the company of their offspring. White backgrounds keep the focus on the dogs.

Daddy-and-child dog lovers can try some of these canine ways of expressing affection. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 17, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-452-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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