A hit for girls who identify strongly with girlhood and love things that go.

GO, GIRLS, GO!

Girl power meets things that go in this colorful early picture book.

Girls with diverse skin colors, hair colors, and hair textures drive, conduct, steer, speed, rev, fly, build, load, dump, and rocket in vehicles of many different types. A spread introducing three girls being active in their vehicles is followed by a spread calling out the sounds their machines make (“VROOM! goes Emma. / HOOT! goes Meg. / CLANK! goes Jayla”), then a spread saying “GO, GIRLS, GO!” This three-spread pattern repeats with three new girls and vehicles each time. From trains and tractors to tugboats, taxis, planes, and motorcycles, these girls “go” in every way, working, playing and saving the day. Girls from previous spreads help girls on later spreads, showing an ideal of cooperation and unity that furthers the value of the girl-power message. On the last “GO, GIRLS, GO!” spread, all the girls march together, some holding signs for peace, equality, and womanhood—a touch that may tip the balance a bit too far into the realm of didacticism for some tastes. The illustrations feature bright primary colors, block shapes, patterns, stars, and large, clear fonts that will appeal to young audiences. With repeated readings, pre-readers will be reciting the words on their own.

A hit for girls who identify strongly with girlhood and love things that go. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2482-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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Fans of the series will delight in seeing these favorites again, and Girl and Dragon should win some new ones.

SAIL AWAY DRAGON

A young girl and a dragon take their sweet friendship on an adventure.

After sharing the beginning and deepening of their friendship in Lovabye Dragon (2012) and Evermore Dragon (2015), Joosse puts this twosome on a journey to the high seas. Girl, forever sleeping in her same bed, dreams of sailing away. Dragon, snug in his lair, dreams of sailing with Girl. “Sometimes when friends share a heart / they dream the same thing, apart.” So they pack a wicker basket, a spyglass, and a banner and wave goodbye. The ocean provides plenty of interest with dolphins, whales, and Bad Hats with ratty beards (depicted as Vikings who differ only in the amount of their facial hair). There’s also a cat. The dreamy, highly textured oil pictures by Cecil in his signature palette of gentle grays, greens, and blues make the transition from land to sea seamlessly. With a tender nod to “The Owl and the Pussycat,” the scenery is full of diversions while the clever rhyming verse full of wordplay drifts the story farther from Home. The hazy images allow young minds to see this tiny princess with dark hair as racially ambiguous. As in many famous stories, one must leave home to find home, which is the same for these two loving friends. “With Dragon as boat / and Girl as crew / there was nothing—nothing—they couldn’t do!”

Fans of the series will delight in seeing these favorites again, and Girl and Dragon should win some new ones. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7313-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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A brassy, assertive fellow—young readers in the middle of their own power struggles will relate.

TOUGH TUG

A tugboat’s size and might are easy to anthropomorphize; add this personified puffer to the mix.

Tough Tug is built near Seattle, made of strong steel welded together and adorned with a fresh coat of bright red paint. Wide googly eyes and a determined smile complete the look. On launch day, Tough Tug triumphantly flashes forward and backward, twirling and swirling through the water. Older tugboats (distinguished variously by mustaches, glasses, and eye patches) grumble at the youngster’s bravado. “Push and pull is what tugs do. Practice THAT.” Tough Tug’s first job is to tow a barge to Alaska. Rhythmic mantras churn across the surface of the water in bold navy letters: “Ready, steady. / Steady, ready. // Chug and tug. / Tug and chug.” But Tough Tug is overeager and challenges Arctic Tug to a race. The thrum changes to “Race and run! / Run and race!” Arctic Tug is first to Sitka, but while crossing the open ocean to Anchorage, the older tug gets into trouble. It’s Tough Tug to the rescue! McClurkan’s digital paintings look quite modern, but there is a feel to his foamy waves that recalls the mid-20th-century harbor of Little Toot. The anthropomorphized boats have plenty of personality, and readers who study the expressions on the container ships will be rewarded. An author’s note explains this was inspired by a true story of one tug rescuing another boat from a competing tugboat company.

A brassy, assertive fellow—young readers in the middle of their own power struggles will relate. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5039-5098-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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