Functional, if simplistic and context free.



From the Sesame Street Scribbles series

Elmo gets ready for the first day of school by washing his hands and putting on his mask.

In straight-up, unvarnished behavior modeling, Elmo listens to his mother explain how to wash hands to the ABC song, heeds her warnings not to touch his face or his friends, and dons a mask just like “Super Grover,” since “heroes wear masks to keep others safe!” Pausing occasionally for deep breaths (“belly breathing,” as the “Tips for Grown-Ups” at the end put it) to calm his nerves, Elmo has a fun and busy day. All the socially distanced Sesame Street characters appear to be wearing masks with ear loops whether or not they have ears, and Kwiat gets around the problem of showing Elmo eating lunch without taking his mask off by simply posing him holding a juice box—which leaves young readers on their own to figure out what to do. Still, the sunny pictures mirror the narrative’s upbeat tone while showing how to maintain generous personal spaces while interacting with others and doing schoolwork in a classroom that seems to have both tables for individuals and large, open gathering spaces. The closing notes for caregivers rightly discourage trying to get children under 2 to mask up except under a doctor’s recommendation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.3-by-16-inch double-page spreads viewed at 85% of actual size.)

Functional, if simplistic and context free. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-3659-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2020

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Energetic and earnest but not groundbreaking.


Unlikely friends Bear and Rabbit face fears together.

The anthropomorphic creatures set out on an adventure. Graphic-based illustrations give the book a Pixar movie feel, with a variety of page layouts that keep the story moving. Large blocks of black text are heavy on dialogue patterns as timid Bear and bold Rabbit encounter obstacles. Bear fears every one of them, from the stream to the mountain. He’ll do anything to avoid the objects of terror: taking a bus, a train, and even a helicopter. As Rabbit asks Bear if he’s frightened, Bear repeatedly responds, “I’m not scared, you’re scared!” and children will delight in the call-and-response opportunities. Adults may tire of the refrain, but attempts to keep everyone entertained are evident in asides about Bear's inability to brush food from his teeth (he’s too afraid to look at himself in the mirror) and Rabbit's superstrong ears (which do come in handy later). When Rabbit finds herself in danger after Bear defects on the adventure, Bear retraces the trip. Along the way, he notes that the stream wasn't as deep, nor the mountain as high, as he thought when he was scared. While picture-book shelves may not be screaming for another comedically sweet bear story, especially one that treads such familiar territory, many readers will appreciate this tale of overcoming fears. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Energetic and earnest but not groundbreaking. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35237-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Flamingo Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

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From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 1

A cuddly, squishy pug’s puggy-wuggy diary.

Equipped with both #pugunicorn and #pughotdog outfits, pug Baron von Bubbles (aka Bub) is the kind of dog that always dresses to impress. Bub also makes lots of memorable faces, such as the “Hey, you’re not the boss of me!” expression aimed at Duchess, the snooty pink house cat. Some of Bub’s favorite things include skateboarding, a favorite teddy, and eating peanut butter. Bub also loves Bella, who adopted Bub from a fair—it was “love at first sniff.” Together, Bub and Bella do a lot of arts and crafts. Their latest project: entering Bella’s school’s inventor challenge by making a super-duper awesome rocket. But, when the pesky neighborhood squirrel, Nutz, makes off with Bub’s bear, Bub accidentally ruins their project. How will they win the contest? More importantly, how will Bella ever forgive him? May’s cutesy, full-color cartoon art sets the tone for this pug-tastic romp for the new-to–chapter-books crowd. Emojilike faces accentuate Bub’s already expressive character design. Bub’s infectious first-person narration pushes the silly factor off the charts. In addition to creating the look and feel of a diary, the lined paper helps readers follow the eight-chapter story. Most pages have fewer than five sentences, often broken into smaller sections. Additional text appears in color-coded speech bubbles. Bella presents white.

Totes adorbs. (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53003-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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