A madcap series opener with a wink or two at some topical themes.


From the Remy Sneakers series , Vol. 1

When an evil toymaker threatens to release a fleet of robot pigeon spy drones, it’s up to urban raccoon Remy to organize and lead the resistance.

A series of break-ins by a masked bandit that looks just like him (even down to the recycled sneakers) prompts Remington Raccoon to recruit a Critter Crew of mice and rats (the pigeons refuse to cooperate) to help clear his name. But his investigation soon turns up a larger threat, as human gadgeteer Walter Fry has concocted not just a robotic raccoon thief, but an army of other robo-rodents—and, worse yet, flights of titanium-plated pigeon spy drones. Will Fry succeed in his ostensibly altruistic but ominous scheme to put the entire city under surveillance? Not so fast! Thanks to late but timely help from the pigeons, a “perfect storm of rodent rage” in the streets leads to ultimate victory for the furry and feathered defenders of the right to privacy. Sherry creates his headlong kickoff with page-filling, monochrome ink-and-wash cartoons with dialogue and narrative in several big, hand-lettered–style types. Led by tough-looking mayor Sheila Spike, human figures all appear to be white but are also rare in the multispecies cast. Throughout, Remy shows a gift for oratory (“We may all be different, but when we work together, there is nothing we can’t do!”) that may serve him well should he go into politics. First, though, he has a new problem, as the episode ends with the shocking discovery that the entirety of his precious trash collection has mysteriously disappeared. Stay tuned.

A madcap series opener with a wink or two at some topical themes. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-03460-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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Inspiration, shrink wrapped.


From an artist, poet, and Instagram celebrity, a pep talk for all who question where a new road might lead.

Opening by asking readers, “Have you ever wanted to go in a different direction,” the unnamed narrator describes having such a feeling and then witnessing the appearance of a new road “almost as if it were magic.” “Where do you lead?” the narrator asks. The Road’s twice-iterated response—“Be a leader and find out”—bookends a dialogue in which a traveler’s anxieties are answered by platitudes. “What if I fall?” worries the narrator in a stylized, faux hand-lettered type Wade’s Instagram followers will recognize. The Road’s dialogue and the narration are set in a chunky, sans-serif type with no quotation marks, so the one flows into the other confusingly. “Everyone falls at some point, said the Road. / But I will always be there when you land.” Narrator: “What if the world around us is filled with hate?” Road: “Lead it to love.” Narrator: “What if I feel stuck?” Road: “Keep going.” De Moyencourt illustrates this colloquy with luminous scenes of a small, brown-skinned child, face turned away from viewers so all they see is a mop of blond curls. The child steps into an urban mural, walks along a winding country road through broad rural landscapes and scary woods, climbs a rugged metaphorical mountain, then comes to stand at last, Little Prince–like, on a tiny blue and green planet. Wade’s closing claim that her message isn’t meant just for children is likely superfluous…in fact, forget the just.

Inspiration, shrink wrapped. (Picture book. 6-8, adult)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26949-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends


From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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