This will be a riotous hit wherever it’s shared, though be prepared to see underwear worn in lots of different ways.

UNDERWEAR!

A “Who’s on First” sketch featuring underwear.

After a bath, a happy-as-a-clam, carefree “Bare Bear” is halted in their soggy tracks by a very serious parental figure in the bathroom doorway: “Stop right there! / You should be wearing / underwear!!!” Whether the child truly mishears the parent’s words, is unfamiliar with the garment altogether, or is fooling around won’t matter to readers in the slightest: They will be too busy laughing hysterically at the cub’s antics. Once a spare pair of tighty whities has been procured (the first had a big tear), the parent allows some privacy, and the cub ponders, “Where to wear this underwear?” The cub’s unbridled enthusiasm and vibrant imagination will keep kids in stitches (“Underwear makes awesome hair”), though the parent bear is not as amused (“What the heck’s goin’ on in there?!”). Still, once yet another pair is pulled from the drawer, the two share a book together, and then it’s off to bed, but the adult’s ill-chosen goodnight wish provokes one last parting shot from the tot. Harney’s digital illustrations keep the focus on the bears by using monochrome colors for all but the salient details. Facial features and body language are spot-on, and the rollicking rhymes are the icing on the cake.

This will be a riotous hit wherever it’s shared, though be prepared to see underwear worn in lots of different ways. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-02793-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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A forgettable tale.

THE LITTLEST REINDEER

Dot, the smallest reindeer at the North Pole, is too little to fly with the reindeer team on Christmas Eve, but she helps Santa in a different, unexpected way.

Dot is distressed because she can’t jump and fly like the other, bigger reindeer. Her family members encourage her and help her practice her skills, and her mother tells her, “There’s always next year.” Dot’s elf friend, Oliver, encourages her and spends time playing with her, doing things that Dot can do well, such as building a snowman and chasing their friend Yeti (who looks like a fuzzy, white gumdrop). On Christmas Eve, Santa and the reindeer team take off with their overloaded sleigh. Only Dot notices one small present that’s fallen in the snow, and she successfully leaps into the departing sleigh with the gift. This climactic flying leap into the sleigh is not adequately illustrated, as Dot is shown just starting to leap and then already in the sleigh. A saccharine conclusion notes that being little can sometimes be great and that “having a friend by your side makes anything possible.” The story is pleasant but predictable, with an improbably easy solution to Dot’s problem. Illustrations in a muted palette are similarly pleasant but predictable, with a greeting-card flavor that lacks originality. The elf characters include boys, girls, and adults; all the elves and Santa and Mrs. Claus are white.

A forgettable tale. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-15738-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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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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