A girl sets out on a canoe ride and is joined by her dog, then a variety of animal passengers in Casanova’s (When Eagles Fall, p. 877, etc.) buoyant outing. Beaver is the first to climb aboard. “Can I come, too?” he asks. “There’s not much room,” the girl explains. “It’s a one-dog canoe.” But “with a slap and a swim, / Beaver scrambled in.” Hoyt, in his children’s book debut, plays with perspective, first depicting the eager beaver standing on a log then close-up, in the same position, in the front of the canoe. Casanova’s rhyming text employs a familiar cumulative twist as each animal requests a ride. “I doubt you’ll fit. It’s a one-beaver, one dog canoe,” she tells a curious loon. Then, to the wolf: “Maybe next time! It’s a one-loon, / one-beaver, one-dog canoe.” But the animals won’t take no for an answer and, each one larger than the last, enters the canoe in a most indelicate manner. Hoyt’s humorous illustrations convey the passenger’s uncertainty. A very funny spread depicts all the animals, including a bear and moose, improbably crammed into the canoe, its stern sinking below the surface. Finally, it’s the smallest creature (a frog) that upsets the boat’s balance and sends the entire crew overboard. Through it all, the girl remains good-natured. Hoyt’s closing vignette depicts the girl and her dog, alone at last, heading off for an evening excursion, a satisfying dénouement to a very hectic day. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 6, 2003

ISBN: 0-374-35638-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Melanie Kroupa/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2002

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Uplifting and inspiring of further research.


A bilingual love poem of admiration and respect for the millions of monarch butterflies that journey south to Mexico every year.

From a chrysalis on the title page, Señorita Mariposa invites readers to follow the monarch butterfly as it embarks on a journey spanning thousands of miles, “Over mountains capped with snow… / To the deserts down below.” In the same manner, the monarch butterfly exiting the chrysalis at the end of the book then invites readers to flip back to the beginning and restart the journey. Almada Rivero’s warm and friendly illustrations showcase the various people and animals the monarch encounters in its 3,000-mile journey, including a couple of brown-skinned children who welcome Señorita Mariposa to Mexico as the text reads, “Can’t believe how far you’ve come.” Gundersheimer’s recounting of the lepidoptera’s journey is told in a bilingual poem, English set in a serif type and Spanish set in sans-serif. Like the butterfly traveling south and north, the languages switch prominence, displaying in the larger font the principal—and rhyming—language in each spread. Although at times distracting, this technique is a valiant attempt to give equal importance to each language. Backmatter includes facts on the round trip the butterflies undertake, the “super generation” that makes the trek south, and a call to action to protect the monarchs as they slowly lose their habitats.

Uplifting and inspiring of further research. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4070-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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Willems’ formula is still a winner.


From the Pigeon series

The pigeon is back, and he is filthy!

Readers haven’t seen the pigeon for a couple of years, not since The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? (2012), and apparently he hasn’t bathed in all that time. Per the usual routine, the bus driver (clad in shower cap and bathrobe) opens the story by asking readers to help convince the pigeon to take a bath. Though he’s covered in grime, the obstreperous bird predictably resists. He glares at readers and suggests that maybe they need baths. With the turn of the page, Willems anticipates readers’ energetic denials: The pigeon demands, “YEAH! When was the last time YOU had a bath?!” Another beat allows children to supply the answer. “Oh.” A trio of flies that find him repulsive (“P.U.!”) convinces him it’s time. One spread with 29 separate panels depicts the pigeon adjusting the bath (“Too wet!…Too cold.…Too reflective”) before the page turn reveals him jumping in with a spread-filling “SPLASH!” Readers accustomed to the pigeon formula will note that here the story breaks from its normal rhythms; instead of throwing a tantrum, the pigeon discovers what readers already know: “This is FUN!” All the elements are in place, including page backgrounds that modulate from dirty browns to fresh, clean colors and endpapers that bookend the story (including a very funny turnabout for the duckling, here a rubber bath toy).

Willems’ formula is still a winner. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9087-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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