A muddled parable likely to leave readers scratching their…heads.

THIS POOP IS MINE!

Two flies go to war over a pile of dog poop.

The buzzing adversaries end up friends, swathed in bandages and lying side by side in bed—but neither the war nor its resolution offer much fiber to digest. Hardly has Lola, “the flittiest of all flies,” planted her flag on the freshly laid mound than along comes Fiona, “the laziest and most loudmouthed of all flies,” to challenge her claim. The two proceed to engage in what, aside from a bit of poop flinging, amounts to a no-contact dance-off that ends at sunset with the two bedding down on opposite sides of the pile. Next morning, instead of resuming hostilities, the weary warriors unilaterally decide that there’s enough room for all…just as an oblivious gardener’s big boot comes down to obliterate the muffin of contention. Though the Argentine illustrator draws his light-skinned, anthropomorphic flies so casually that he sometimes forgets how many legs they’re supposed to have, he gives the pair stylish eyes that look like outsized sunglasses and comically irascible expressions (they’re still scowling even as they lie in bed holding hands in the penultimate scene). That ill humor adds a piquant whiff to a parable that falls otherwise on the bland side despite the redolent mise en scène. The Spanish-language original publishes simultaneously. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9.8-by-19.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 74% of actual size.)

A muddled parable likely to leave readers scratching their…heads. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-84-17673-88-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: nubeOCHO

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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Inspiration, shrink wrapped.

WHAT THE ROAD SAID

From an artist, poet, and Instagram celebrity, a pep talk for all who question where a new road might lead.

Opening by asking readers, “Have you ever wanted to go in a different direction,” the unnamed narrator describes having such a feeling and then witnessing the appearance of a new road “almost as if it were magic.” “Where do you lead?” the narrator asks. The Road’s twice-iterated response—“Be a leader and find out”—bookends a dialogue in which a traveler’s anxieties are answered by platitudes. “What if I fall?” worries the narrator in a stylized, faux hand-lettered type Wade’s Instagram followers will recognize. The Road’s dialogue and the narration are set in a chunky, sans-serif type with no quotation marks, so the one flows into the other confusingly. “Everyone falls at some point, said the Road. / But I will always be there when you land.” Narrator: “What if the world around us is filled with hate?” Road: “Lead it to love.” Narrator: “What if I feel stuck?” Road: “Keep going.” De Moyencourt illustrates this colloquy with luminous scenes of a small, brown-skinned child, face turned away from viewers so all they see is a mop of blond curls. The child steps into an urban mural, walks along a winding country road through broad rural landscapes and scary woods, climbs a rugged metaphorical mountain, then comes to stand at last, Little Prince–like, on a tiny blue and green planet. Wade’s closing claim that her message isn’t meant just for children is likely superfluous…in fact, forget the just.

Inspiration, shrink wrapped. (Picture book. 6-8, adult)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26949-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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