An absorbing—and absorbent—tale of togetherness with turns both comical and dramatic.

DINO-GRO

How to make a tiny toy grow? Just add water!

Cole’s new blue dinosaur fits neatly in his hand until it climbs into a glass of water, which touches off persistent efforts to get, as it repeatedly says with its one and only word: “Wet.” A dive into the fish tank (“Wet”) and an encounter with the sprinkler later (“Wet!”)—not to mention a fridge raid and a shower—and Dino-Gro has outgrown the house. Forced at last to move outdoors, the blue behemoth sadly wanders off…but lumbers back, huger than ever, to the rescue (“Wet!”) when a mighty storm floods the neighborhood. In the lightly caricatured illustrations, Dino-Gro’s doggy friendliness (not to mention size) recalls overgrown picture-book pooches like Pinkerton and Clifford, though in build and hue it actually looks like a cross between a hippo and Barney. Myers depicts Cole, his parents, and the little sister that soon comes along as racially ambiguous, with light brown skin. Viewers will dwell, amused, on the lovingly detailed chaos Dino-Gro leaves in its wake as it chugs the water out of flower vases and rummages through the fridge, and they will chuckle at the comical final scene as Cole’s mom’s remark that the new baby will grow prompts the helpful creature to rush up with the garden hose: “Wet?” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An absorbing—and absorbent—tale of togetherness with turns both comical and dramatic. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-17987-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Random House Studio

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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PUG BLASTS OFF

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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A strong, accessible diary story for readers seeking an adorable animal tale.

PUG'S SNOW DAY

From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 2

Bub the anxious pug tackles snow days and new neighbors in his second outing.

Bub, acclaimed by some as “the cutest pug on the planet,” at first shares the enthusiasm owner Bella expresses about snow days even though he doesn’t know what they are. Then Duchess the cat (mildly antagonistic, in typical feline fashion) rains on Bub’s parade by pointing out that snow is water—and Bub’s no fan of rain or baths. After a comedic and disastrous first attempt, Bub learns how to properly dress for snow and enjoy it. The outdoor fun’s cut short by mysterious noises coming from the new neighbor, which frighten Bella into thinking there’s a monster. Bub puts on a Sherlock Holmes get-up to investigate but becomes afraid himself of the new neighbor’s large dog. Finally, Bella meets Jack, who’s been working on a tree fort, and his dog, Luna, who is enthusiastically friendly. The story ends on a positive note, as they all happily work together on the fort. The full-color cartoon illustrations, especially of Bub, are adorably expressive and certain to please the age group. The generous font and format—short, diary-entry paragraphs and speech-bubble conversations—create a quick pace. Bub’s stylized emoji bubbles return and are most hilarious when used to express his nervous flatulence. Bella and Jack both present white.

A strong, accessible diary story for readers seeking an adorable animal tale. (Fantasy. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53006-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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