Rather one-note; storytime may be lively with all the repeated phrases, but the story’s not likely to garner many rereads.

I LOVE YOU ALREADY!

From the Goodnight Already! series

Duck and Bear, the early bird/night owl opposites from Goodnight Already! (2014), are back, and this time the pair are the textbook definitions of extrovert and introvert.

Just as Bear settles in for a wonderful day in his cozy chair, tea, journal, and books beside him, Duck knocks at his door to take him on a walk, whether he wants to go or not. Saying he’s busy, hiding behind a chair, and repeatedly saying “No” to Duck’s many suggestions of activities all fail. Introverts will just shake their heads at Duck’s response: “You don’t look  busy!” The pattern continues throughout the walk, Duck bringing things up, Bear responding honestly, Duck repeating himself, and Bear continually telling Duck that he already likes/loves him. Doubting Duck doesn’t get the message, though, until he falls out of a tree and Bear expresses his concern. And though he may realize that Bear loves him already, he never gets that Bear just wants some time alone. The exasperated Bear and frenetic Duck, with their delightful and easily recognizable facial expressions and gestures, can certainly be milked for a few laughs, but they are basically the same laughs as in their last outing.

Rather one-note; storytime may be lively with all the repeated phrases, but the story’s not likely to garner many rereads. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-237095-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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Though Jim may have been grumpy because a chimp’s an ape and not a monkey, readers will enjoy and maybe learn from his...

GRUMPY MONKEY

It’s a wonderful day in the jungle, so why’s Jim Panzee so grumpy?

When Jim woke up, nothing was right: "The sun was too bright, the sky was too blue, and bananas were too sweet." Norman the gorilla asks Jim why he’s so grumpy, and Jim insists he’s not. They meet Marabou, to whom Norman confides that Jim’s grumpy. When Jim denies it again, Marabou points out that Jim’s shoulders are hunched; Jim stands up. When they meet Lemur, Lemur points out Jim’s bunchy eyebrows; Jim unbunches them. When he trips over Snake, Snake points out Jim’s frown…so Jim puts on a grimacelike smile. Everyone has suggestions to brighten his mood: dancing, singing, swinging, swimming…but Jim doesn’t feel like any of that. He gets so fed up, he yells at his animal friends and stomps off…then he feels sad about yelling. He and Norman (who regrets dancing with that porcupine) finally just have a sit and decide it’s a wonderful day to be grumpy—which, of course, makes them both feel a little better. Suzanne Lang’s encouragement to sit with your emotions (thus allowing them to pass) is nearly Buddhist in its take, and it will be great bibliotherapy for the crabby, cranky, and cross. Oscar-nominated animator Max Lang’s cartoony illustrations lighten the mood without making light of Jim’s mood; Jim has comically long arms, and his facial expressions are quite funny.

Though Jim may have been grumpy because a chimp’s an ape and not a monkey, readers will enjoy and maybe learn from his journey. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-553-53786-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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SCAREDY SQUIRREL HAS A BIRTHDAY PARTY

From the Scaredy Squirrel series , Vol. 5

When Scaredy Squirrel plans a party, he concentrates on maximum security, not maximum fun. His checklist: "Confirm date of birth; pick a safe location; choose party colors; get tuxedo dry-cleaned; prepare cake recipe; practice breathing (to blow up balloons/blow out candles); mail party invitation to myself." That's right—there’s only one guest at Scaredy's birthday party, and it's himself. But when his chum Buddy sends him a birthday card, he reconsiders his guest list to include his pal, even making the momentous decision to hold his party on the ground instead of in his tree. Replete with the lists and diagrams that are this OCD rodent's hallmarks, the story unfolds with both humor and some useful etiquette tips. From conversational gambits (good: "If you were a tree, what type of tree would you be?"; bad: "Is that a muskrat on your head? Oops... it's a toupee") to the "dos and don'ts of partying" (do: sit quietly; don't: double-dip), kids will find much to laugh at and think about. Typically (for a Scaredy adventure), despite a plan so complete it includes tooth-brushing breaks, a surprise happens—party animals show up! Watt’s wry digital illustrations make the most of the perceived mayhem, using a host of graphic conventions to tell her story. There's no question it's a formula by now, but it's still a winning one. Many happy returns, Scaredy. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-55453-468-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Jan. 31, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2011

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