A delightful animal outing. (Board book. 6 mos.-2)


A playful, curious little hippo wanders away and is found by its mother.

As Little Hippo (safely) strays from the herd, readers see joyful mud baths and splashy water play. There’s a brief moment of childlike moping when Mama Hippo pulls Little Hippo back to the herd, but it’s not long before it’s grins and giggles once more. Mason’s warm illustrations are irresistibly front and center in this board book. The rhyme and cadence of Abery’s text gives the story a lullaby feel, with a rich vocabulary. Patterned stanzas—“Little Hippo / puzzling, / nuzzling, / finds a red-billed bird”—work wonderfully when read aloud, and words like “romping / stomping,” “bustling / hustling,” and “sulking” expose little readers to new verbs. The second word in each rhyming pair is printed in blue, contrasting with the overall purple type. The illustrations have a watercolor feel, with softly mottled grays, pinks, and purples for the hippos’ skin, and include nuances like shadows from passing birds and light filtering through water. Little Hippo’s face is drawn with minimal features but is nevertheless incredibly expressive, with joy and even remorse easily discernible. Abery and Mason also created the simultaneously publishing Little Monkey, with similar themes of an adventurous little animal who is rescued and loved by its mama. The text follows the same format of rhythm and rhyme paired with lovely illustrations.

A delightful animal outing. (Board book. 6 mos.-2)

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68152-563-1

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Amicus Ink

Review Posted Online: Feb. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.”


Graziano tells the story of his TikTok-famous pug, Noodle.

Noodle is a silly, stubborn old pug who likes walks and snacks. “He’s a pug who knows what he wants.” Jonathan, his light-skinned owner, loves taking Noodle for walks and sharing snacks—they are a perfect pair. But one day, when it’s time for a walk, Noodle just lies in his dog bed. Even when Jonathan tries to make Noodle sit up, Noodle flops back down. “It’s like he doesn’t have bones!” says Jonathan. Noodle doesn’t seem sick—he just wants snacks and to stay in bed. Finally, Jonathan asks if Noodle would just like to snuggle instead and receives a strong affirmative from the drowsy pug. Together Noodle and his human enjoy a relaxing “no bones day” and learn an important lesson about rest and why it matters for silly, stubborn old pugs and for the humans who love them, too. Many may already be familiar with Noodle through his TikTok videos (if Noodle remains standing when Graziano lifts him, it’s a “bones day”; among Noodle’s followers, a “no bones day” has come to mean a day for self-care and taking it easy). However, this story stands alone and will likely create new fans for a long time to come. Hand-drawn and painted digitally, Tavis’ illustrations rely on a muted palette and rounded images, depicting an appropriately cozy world. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.” (author's note) (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66592-710-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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An unabashed love letter from mother.


From the Little Pookie series

A sweet celebration of the bond between a mother and her Pookie.

The eighth installment in this always charming series eschews the episodic drama and silliness of earlier outing such as Spooky Pookie (2015) in favor of a mom’s-eye-view celebration of her child and the time they spend together. There is, of course, nothing wrong with drama and silliness. But while the lack of conflict and plot in favor of unapologetic sentiment makes this book a quick read, that doesn’t make it any less endearing. The rhymed verse captures a mother’s wonder as she observes the many facets of her child’s personality: “Ah, Pookie. My little one. My funny one. My child. // Sometimes you are quiet. Sometimes you are wild.” On the simple joys of shared moments, she notes, “I love to go walking with you by my side. / I love when we sing when we go for a ride. // And I love just to watch as you think and you play. / The way that you are is a wonderful way.” Paired with author/illustrator Boynton’s irresistible renderings of a porcine mommy and her playful, snuggly little piglet, the result is impossible to fault. Whether quietly reading, running in a tiger suit, singing with mom in the car, ears flapping in the breeze, or enjoying the safety of mom’s embrace, Pookie’s appeal continues unabated.

An unabashed love letter from mother. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3723-4

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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