BIRDY'S SMILE BOOK

To Birdy and her dog French Fry, smiles are a necessity and come in many forms. Birdy's monologue celebrating smiles is ingenuously childlike in its tendency to jump from thought to thought—"I can't see my grandpa's smile because his mustache is soooo big it covers his whole mouth! / But somehow I can always tell when he's SMILING. / Grandpa says my smile can light up a room. / I wish it could CLEAN up a room, too." It's also encyclopedic, folding in such disparate concepts as endorphins, cheese, gelatologism (the study of smiles), George Washington and his dental problems and tears of joy. The collaged illustrations are bold and textured and occupy white space in Keller's characteristically exuberant style. The narrative voice and illustrative feel—it even ends with a mirror, a feature normally found in books for babies and toddlers—are at odds with much of the content, which requires the sense of humor and irony of an older child. Whether they will embrace the presentation and Birdy's exhaustive salute remains open to question. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-8050-8883-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2010

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

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

Did you like this book?

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more