A solid entry in an entertaining series foreshadowing more adventures for the trio of Barkus, Baby, and Millie on the horizon

BARKUS DOG DREAMS

From the Barkus series , Vol. 2

Newbery Medalist MacLachlan continues her series of early chapter books with this second offering about Barkus the dog, his feline companion named Baby, and the child who owns them, Nicky.

The story unfolds in five short chapters narrated by Nicky, with bold, bright illustrations on every page and some pages printed on colored backgrounds. The episodic chapters include a visit to the vet, attending a town party, and rescuing some lost farm animals. Barkus makes friends with a neighbor’s dog, Millie, when they trade toys back and forth, and in the concluding chapter, Millie and her owner stay with Nicky’s family during a storm and power outage. Each chapter has some sort of reassuring development for Barkus, showing that he will be cared for and protected and appreciated. The plot also subtly reinforces the importance of helping others, with the rescue of the runaway farm animals, with Barkus rescuing a struggling singer with a convenient howl, and with Nicky's family kindly opening their home to Millie and her owner during the storm. The illustrations are varied in format and size, with amusing, buggy-eyed humans and animals, and each chapter has humor and surprising developments to keep young readers turning pages. The main characters present white, with supporting characters of different ethnicities, including a female vet with brown skin and black hair.

A solid entry in an entertaining series foreshadowing more adventures for the trio of Barkus, Baby, and Millie on the horizon . (Early reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4521-1676-1

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow...

THE BOOK HOG

A porcine hoarder of books learns to read—and to share.

The Book Hog’s obsession is clear from the start. Short declarative sentences describe his enthusiasm (“The Book Hog loved books”), catalog the things he likes about the printed page, and eventually reveal his embarrassing secret (“He didn’t know how to read”). While the text is straightforward, plenty of amusing visual details will entertain young listeners. A picture of the Book Hog thumbing through a book while seated on the toilet should induce some giggles. The allusive name of a local bookshop (“Wilbur’s”) as well as the covers of a variety of familiar and much-loved books (including some of the author’s own) offer plenty to pore over. And the fact that the titles become legible only after our hero learns to read is a particularly nice touch. A combination of vignettes, single-page illustrations and double-page spreads that feature Pizzoli’s characteristic style—heavy black outlines, a limited palette of mostly salmon and mint green, and simple shapes—move the plot along briskly. Librarians will appreciate the positive portrayal of Miss Olive, an elephant who welcomes the Book Hog warmly to storytime, though it’s unlikely most will be able to match her superlative level of service.

There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow bibliophiles, and the author’s fans will enjoy making another anthropomorphic animal friend. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-03689-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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