Moderately inspired but tired all the same.

TEMPLETON GETS HIS WISH

Pizzoli’s young cat, Templeton, gets what he wishes for, with predictable results.

Templeton is the eldest kitten in the house, so he is the beneficiary of all the usual stuff: demanding parents—“Scrub harder, Templeton!” “Clean up this mess!”—and a trio of brothers who take his favorite toys. He comes across an advertisement in a comic book for a magic diamond that grants wishes. “So he did something bad”—robbing a brother’s piggy bank—“and got something good in return.” That’s some rough philosophical ground, though it is also the most original—if disturbing—turf turned in this otherwise foreseeable tale. Templeton wishes his family gone; they disappear; he revels: playing, singing, lounging, making a mess of the house and himself. No more demands, no more sharing. Then things get boring, scary at night, stinky, and lonely. He wishes his family back, and back they come, same as they ever were, which is fine with Templeton: same demands, same sharing. Pizzoli brings extremely simple language to the task, and so too for the artwork, though here the complementary colors set eyeballs vibrating, and Templeton radiates a hepcat appeal. But the piggy-bank heist never gets revisited, ill wishes don’t get explored, and no twist gives the old story some fresh air.

Moderately inspired but tired all the same. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 12, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4847-1274-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2015

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Charming Easter fun.

PETER EASTER FROG

You may know the Easter Bunny, but get ready to meet Peter Easter Frog!

Peter loves Easter, and he’s not going to let the fact that he’s a frog and not a bunny stop him, especially when he’s so good at hopping! He looks absolutely delighted to be hopping around delivering Easter eggs. As he hops along, so does a repeated refrain, which always begins with two words ending with “-ity” coupled with “Easter’s on its—” (“Squishity, squashity, Easter’s on its—”; “Yippity, yappity, Easter’s on its—”); each page turn playfully upends the expected conclusion of the line. Karas’ cheery art portrays a growing array of animals: a turtle decked out in lipstick and a spiffy Easter bonnet, a cow with flower choker necklace, and a sheepdog and a chipmunk sans finery. As Peter gives out colorful, patterned Easter eggs to the other animals, they are, at first, shocked to see an Easter frog but soon join him in his charitable mission to spread Easter cheer. The moment when the cow responds to the dog’s challenge that she is not a cow-bunny by pointing out its own breed as a “sheepdog” may elicit laughs, especially from adult readers. When the group finally meets the real Easter Bunny—hilariously, at the end of a dark tunnel—it seems that things may go awry, but all ends hoppily, happily, and inclusively. The text does not use dialogue tags, instead setting narration and dialogue in separate, distinctive typefaces; unfortunately, this design is not consistently applied, which may confuse readers. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 26.8% of actual size.)

Charming Easter fun. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6489-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world.

YOU ARE HOME WITH ME

This reassuring picture book exemplifies how parents throughout the animal kingdom make homes for their offspring.

The narrative is written from the point of view of a parent talking to their child: “If you were a beaver, I would gnaw on trees with my teeth to build a cozy lodge for us to sleep in during the day.” Text appears in big, easy-to-read type, with the name of the creature in boldface. Additional facts about the animal appear in a smaller font, such as: “Beavers have transparent eyelids to help them see under water.” The gathering of land, air, and water animals includes a raven, a flying squirrel, and a sea lion. “Home” might be a nest, a den, or a burrow. One example, of a blue whale who has homes in the north and south (ocean is implied), will help children stretch the concept into feeling at home in the larger world. Illustrations of the habitats have an inviting luminosity. Mature and baby animals are realistically depicted, although facial features appear to have been somewhat softened, perhaps to appeal to young readers. The book ends with the comforting scene of a human parent and child silhouetted in the welcoming lights of the house they approach: “Wherever you may be, you will always have a home with me.”

Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world. (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63217-224-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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