This amusing story is delicately threaded with some subtle lessons about sharing, making friends, and including everyone.

HATS OFF TO MR. POCKLES!

A lonely dachshund named Mr. Pockles finds new friends when he shares his extensive collection of elaborately decorated hats with other animals from his town.

Mr. Pockles lives all alone in his house with a hat-shaped roof, surrounded by his collection of imaginative hats, each one named and adorned with thematic decorations for every occasion. He longs to attend the Hat Day celebration at the PandaPolitan Club, but only pandas are allowed at the exclusive destination. While stopping in a bakery for a treat to cheer himself up, Mr. Pockles meets Lady Coco Fitz-Tulip, a grande dame of the panda set on her way to the Hat Day event. She is wearing a Carmen Miranda–style hat covered with fruit, and in a hilarious sequence, her hat is eaten by baby bunnies. Mr. Pockles invites Lady Fitz-Tulip and the other animals from the cafe back to his house, where they all choose new hats. Lady Fitz-Tulip takes everyone to Hat Day as her special guests, as “friends of pandas are invited, too.” The drolly humorous story is told in a strong narrative voice, with melodramatic flair, clever dialogue, and distinctive personalities for both Mr. Pockles and Lady Fitz-Tulip. Vibrant mixed-media illustrations use a cool palette with jewel-toned accents and glowing lights in the city buildings that impart a fairy-tale aura to the setting.

This amusing story is delicately threaded with some subtle lessons about sharing, making friends, and including everyone. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 29, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-55815-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

Though Jim may have been grumpy because a chimp’s an ape and not a monkey, readers will enjoy and maybe learn from his...

GRUMPY MONKEY

It’s a wonderful day in the jungle, so why’s Jim Panzee so grumpy?

When Jim woke up, nothing was right: "The sun was too bright, the sky was too blue, and bananas were too sweet." Norman the gorilla asks Jim why he’s so grumpy, and Jim insists he’s not. They meet Marabou, to whom Norman confides that Jim’s grumpy. When Jim denies it again, Marabou points out that Jim’s shoulders are hunched; Jim stands up. When they meet Lemur, Lemur points out Jim’s bunchy eyebrows; Jim unbunches them. When he trips over Snake, Snake points out Jim’s frown…so Jim puts on a grimacelike smile. Everyone has suggestions to brighten his mood: dancing, singing, swinging, swimming…but Jim doesn’t feel like any of that. He gets so fed up, he yells at his animal friends and stomps off…then he feels sad about yelling. He and Norman (who regrets dancing with that porcupine) finally just have a sit and decide it’s a wonderful day to be grumpy—which, of course, makes them both feel a little better. Suzanne Lang’s encouragement to sit with your emotions (thus allowing them to pass) is nearly Buddhist in its take, and it will be great bibliotherapy for the crabby, cranky, and cross. Oscar-nominated animator Max Lang’s cartoony illustrations lighten the mood without making light of Jim’s mood; Jim has comically long arms, and his facial expressions are quite funny.

Though Jim may have been grumpy because a chimp’s an ape and not a monkey, readers will enjoy and maybe learn from his journey. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-553-53786-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

more