A welcome addition to the emotional-literacy shelf.

THE WORRYSAURUS

Little Worrysaurus has a big day planned, but will his fears get in the way of his perfect picnic?

After going through his morning routine, Worrysaurus packs up for the day and heads out into the world with nothing but blue skies and his planned picnic on his mind. However, it doesn’t take long for worry and doubt to start to set in. Did he bring enough food? Enough to drink? When he runs across a lizard who is sure it is going to rain, a “little worry butterfly” begins to flutter in Worrysaurus’ stomach. He’s not prepared for rain. As the worry butterfly flaps harder, he remembers something his mommy told him: “Don’t you worry now, my lovely, / you MUST try not to fret. / If it’s not a happy ending, / then it hasn’t ended yet.” Feeling better, Worrysaurus goes through his bag of “happy things” and is able to enjoy the rest of his day. This sweet title will help little human worrysauruses feel as though they are not alone, and it also offers coping tools for when fear and doubt start to take over. Chatterton’s illustrations depict an unthreatening pink theropod with an oversized head (and rather distractingly large nostrils) and effectively convey emotion through color: Happy moments are rendered in bright colors while fearful ones have darker spreads. Easy rhymes with good meter make this fun to read aloud. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 36% of actual size.)

A welcome addition to the emotional-literacy shelf. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-63408-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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Who ya gonna call? A different snowplow book.

SCOOPER AND DUMPER

Friends don’t let friends expire in snowdrifts.

Convoluted storytelling and confusing art turn a cute premise into a mishmash of a book. Scooper’s a front loader that works in the town salt yard, replenishing the snowplows that arrive. Dumper’s her best friend, more than happy to plow and salt the roads himself. When the big city calls in Dumper to help with a snow squall, he brushes off Scooper’s concerns. Yet slippery roads and a seven-vehicle pileup launch poor Dumper onto his side in a snowbank. Can Scooper overcome fears that she’s too slow and save the day? Following a plot as succinct as this should be a breeze, but the rhyming text obfuscates more than it clarifies. Lines such as, “Dumper’s here— / let’s rock ’n’ roll! / Big city’s callin’ for / some small-town soul” can prove impenetrable. The art of the book matches this confusion, with light-blue Dumper often hard to pick out among other, similarly colored vehicles, particularly in the snowstorm. Speech bubbles, as when the city calls for Scooper’s and Dumper’s help, lead to a great deal of visual confusion. Scooper is also featured sporting long eyelashes and a bow, lest anyone mistake the dithering, frightened truck as anything but female. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 16.8% of actual size.)

Who ya gonna call? A different snowplow book. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9268-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

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