It’s the first five minutes of Disney’s Up for cat lovers—but with a happy ending.


A lonely, old man fends off the affections of an increasing number of stray kitties.

“Old man. / Big city. / Pretty kitty. / Pretty little itty-bitty / kitty cat. / Pretty kitty. Wants a pat. / Don’t you look at me like that. / I do not want a kitty cat. / SCAT!” Naturally, when the unnamed protagonist gets home, there are two meowing felines on his welcome mat, and he rebuffs them similarly. The pussycats are joined by a third. “Might have FLEAS. / Or some DISEASE. / Think you might be SIAMESE.” Again he tells them to scat. As each new puss arrives, he offers a different excuse for why he doesn’t want a cat—but sharp-eyed readers will note mementos in his house that hint of at least one cat in his past. With 10 on his mat, it starts to snow…and it turns out, one old guy has enough love for 10 cats, and they’re good for snuggles. Beaumont’s rhyme makes for a rollicking read as the protagonist’s resolve to stay alone is slowly cracked by cuteness. Laberis’ digitally created illustrations, a mix of spot and full-bleed, are irresistible in their scratchy, cartoon colorfulness, imbuing the big city with warmth. The old man is white and balding, with a fluffy gray mustache beneath an absurdly large nose.

It’s the first five minutes of Disney’s Up for cat lovers—but with a happy ending. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8050-9232-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Godwin Books/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

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Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes.


A lift-the-flap book gives the littlest trick-or-treaters some practice identifying partygoers under their costumes.

Little Blue Truck and his buddy Toad are off to a party, and they invite readers (and a black cat) along for the ride: “ ‘Beep! Beep! Beep!’ / says Little Blue. / ‘It’s Halloween!’ / You come, too.” As they drive, they are surprised (and joined) by many of their friends in costume. “Who’s that in a tutu / striking a pose / up on the tiniest / tips of her toes? / Under the mask / who do you see?” Lifting the flap unmasks a friend: “ ‘Quack!’ says the duck. / ‘It’s me! It’s me!’ ” The sheep is disguised as a clown, the cow’s a queen, the pig’s a witch, the hen and her chick are pirates, and the horse is a dragon. Not to be left out, Little Blue has a costume, too. The flaps are large and sturdy, and enough of the animals’ characteristic features are visible under and around the costumes that little ones will be able to make successful guesses even on the first reading. Lovely curvy shapes and autumn colors fade to dusky blues as night falls, and children are sure to notice the traditional elements of a Halloween party: apple bobbing, lit jack-o’-lanterns, and punch and treats.

Beloved Little Blue takes a bit of the mystery—and fear—out of Halloween costumes. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-544-77253-3

Page Count: 16

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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A terrific choice for the preschool crowd.

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Little Blue Truck learns that he can be as important as the big yellow school bus.

Little Blue Truck is driving along the country road early one morning when he and driver friend Toad come across a big, yellow, shiny school bus. The school bus is friendly, and so are her animal passengers, but when Little Blue Truck wishes aloud he could do an important job like hers, the school bus says only a bus of her size and features can do this job. Little Blue Truck continues along, a bit envious, and finds Piggy crying by the side of the road, having missed the bus. Little Blue tells Piggy to climb in and takes a creative path to the school—one the bus couldn’t navigate—and with an adventurous spirit, gets Piggy there right on time. The simple, rhyming text opens the story with a sweet, fresh, old-fashioned tone and continues with effortlessly rhythmical lines throughout. Little Blue is a brave, helpful, and hopeful character young readers will root for. Adults will feel a rush of nostalgia and delight in sharing this story with children as the animated vehicles and animals in innocent, colorful countryside scenes evoke wholesome character traits and values of growth, grit, and self-acceptance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-41224-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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