Truly, a tale for our times.

BULLY

A self-centered and egotistical bullfrog refuses to share the beauty of the pond ecosystem, ultimately leaving him in a muddy mess.

Sitting amid the tasty, beautifully scented lilies, Bully chases away the snail, the dragonfly, the bee, and “even the smallest fly,” declaring, “Those delicious, marvelous-smelling, tender lilies are MINE! Everybody out!” Now alone, he indulges in using and abusing the lilies by fashioning them into a crown, eating them until his tummy hurts, and making a new bed of lilies each night. When there is but one lily remaining, Bully guards it by sitting on it. The bee then leads her fellow evictees to take action, forming a large and intimidating squadron of bees, dragonflies, snails, and flies and successfully chasing Bully off the last lily pad and out of the pond. With the return of all the pollinators, the pond’s natural splendor is revived. Unfazed by the consequences of his behavior, Bully must now enjoy all the pleasures of sitting in a pile of gooey mud. “ ‘Humph,’ Bully croaked. ‘All mine.’ ” Sattler’s fable provides a model for how a sharing and caring community will win against a selfish bully’s ugly influence. Expressive graphite-and-watercolor illustrations reflect both the bullfrog’s emotional and environmental impacts on the pond and its inhabitants and the ultimate benevolent message of kindness. A final note about ways to practice acts of kindness completes the concept.

Truly, a tale for our times. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: July 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58536-416-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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Just the thing to get uncertain youngsters jazzed for a first day—at school or anywhere.

THE QUEEN OF KINDERGARTEN

Barnes and Brantley-Newton team up for a follow-up to The King of Kindergarten (2019).

From the very first page, it’s clear that young MJ Malone is ready to face the world—and school. Once Mom bestows her with a glittery tiara and dubs her the queen of kindergarten, MJ is determined to fulfill her duties—brighten up every room she enters, treat others with kindness, and offer a helping hand. Barnes infuses each page with humor and a sense of grace as the immensely likable MJ makes the most of her first day. Barnes’ prose is entertaining and heartwarming, while Brantley-Newton’s vivid and playful artwork will be easily recognizable for anyone who’s seen her work (Grandma’s Purse, 2018; Becoming Vanessa, 2021). The illustrator adds verve to the bold young heroine’s character—from the colorful barrettes to the textured appearance of her adorable denim jumper, the girl has style and substance. MJ Malone embodies the can-do spirit every parent hopes to spark in their own children, though even shy kindergarteners will gladly find a friend in her. MJ and her family are Black; her classroom is diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Just the thing to get uncertain youngsters jazzed for a first day—at school or anywhere. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 24, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-11142-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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