Go, Unlimited Squirrels! Go, readers!

I WANT TO SLEEP UNDER THE STARS!

From the Unlimited Squirrels series

A star-themed bedtime story—and so much more!

The Unlimited Squirrels’ third series entry offers a “BIG Story!” along with a smorgasbord of squirrelly miscellany (jokes, a quiz, and facts). In the “BIG Story,” Zoom Squirrel dreams of sleeping under the stars for the first time. So, Zip Squirrel summons five other pals to help make it happen. At first the squirrels are uncertain how to help, but one suggests they all offer encouragement since Zoom Squirrel is trying something new (“Being encouraged gives me courage!”). The friends form a squirrel pyramid and chant “GO, ZOOMY!” and “YOU CAN DO IT!” But their encouragement doesn’t quite land. Zoom Squirrel wants “PEACE and QUIET,” not encouragement. The friends assume they’re simply using the wrong cheer so they split up into teams to shout “PEACE!” and whisper “Quiet!” By the time Zoom Squirrel corrects them again, it’s morning and the stars are gone! Having established the series formula, Willems is now free to explore it, and the installments get better and better. The smart design and layout uses color-coding and “emote-acorns” to help emerging readers decipher not only words and textual features, but feelings. The fact-based sections playfully combine photographs with Willems’ cartoon illustrations. In lieu of a bibliography to support the informational content, Willems thanks experts—a nod at citation but one that, unfortunately, doesn’t help readers who want to investigate further. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-13-inch double-page spreads viewed at 76% of actual size.)

Go, Unlimited Squirrels! Go, readers! (Early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-05335-8

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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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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Thank you, Gerald and Piggie. We’ll miss you

THE THANK YOU BOOK

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Piggie is “one lucky pig,” and she’s determined to make sure she thanks “everyone who is important to” her in this, the final Elephant & Piggie book.

Gerald is sure his friend will forget someone—“someone important”—but Piggie assures him, “It will be a THANK-O-RAMA!” Piggie proceeds to thank the Squirrels for their great ideas, Snake for playing ball, and the Pigeon “for never giving up.” Piggie thanks and thanks: “I am a thanking machine!” She thanks character after character, even the Flies (“Any time, dude!”), as Gerald continues to interject that she’ll forget “someone VERY important.” Finally Piggie runs out of thanks, and by this time Gerald is steamed. “I goofed,” Piggie says in itty-bitty type, before lavishing thanks on Gerald. But that’s not whom Piggie forgot to thank! A classic Willems tantrum later, Gerald reveals the “someone important”: “Our reader.” Of course. “We could not be ‘us’ without you,” says Gerald, earnestly looking out from the page, and Piggie chimes in, “You are the best!” As Elephant & Piggie books go, this isn’t one of the strongest, but it is a validating valediction to fans of the two characters, who have won Willems two Geisel Medals and five Honors. Yes, Gerald and Piggie have ushered countless readers into literacy, but as they rightly note, reading is a collaborative act.

Thank you, Gerald and Piggie. We’ll miss you . (Early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7828-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2016

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