NO DOGS ALLOWED!

Sesame Street’s “Maria” debuts with this effervescent tale of an extended Bronx family heading for the beach. “Only take what you know you’ll really need to go on a picnic,” says Papi. Over her big sister Shorty’s objections, young Iris takes El Exigente, the dog—only to encounter a sign (see title) that confines him to the parking lot. So Papi proposes that everyone take turns minding him, “until we figure out what to do.” Or, as it happens, until darkness falls, and all head sleepily homeward. Muth’s sand-tinted scenes bustle with vivacious, expressively posed figures, as Iris’s Mami (who bears a strong resemblance to the author) whips up enough food for an army while neighbors and relatives gather from, as Iris puts it, “the tri-state area,” then head off in a convoy of heavily loaded cars to a lake (though it looks more like the ocean) in “Enchanted State Park.” Children will happily hitch a ride, laugh at the exaggerated but believable details and misadventures, and listen to the quiet chords of community and cooperation that underlie Iris’s sunny account. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-83088-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2004

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MERCY WATSON GOES FOR A RIDE

She’s back! Mercy, the porcine wonder, is back in all her buttered-toast eating glory. It’s Saturday, time for a ride in the pink convertible. But, does Mercy like to ride or drive? Drive! Only Mrs. Watson’s promise of extra helpings of hot buttered toast can get this clever pig to scoot across the front seat and enjoy the weekly adventure. And when next-door neighbor Baby Lincoln hankers for a little adventure of her own, the fun really begins. From the toast icons that surround the page numbers, to faux-tape spine, and hilariously gaudy over-the-top illustrations, this is a throw-back in the best sense of the word. When Mercy ends up sitting on top of Mr. Watson in the driver’s seat and Baby has to crawl over the seat to help out, it’s hard not to think of Lucy, Ethel and Ricky caught in another pickle. All’s well that ends well, of course, and that means everyone can celebrate with a stack of toast and an extra pat of butter. (Fiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-7636-2332-6

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2006

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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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