A cute ode to the written word and the joy of having a favorite pen and pal.

STEWART'S BEST PEN

Almost everyone has a best friend, but the truly lucky among us find a best pen.

Stewart and his best pen, Craig, met at camp last summer and became inseparable. It all started with a few letters home and grew into a friendship full of drawing, sword fights, fake mustaches, and even ransom notes (don’t worry, his sister’s doll makes it back in time for tea). But everyone who has a favorite pen knows that sometimes it gets lost and you can’t replace it with just anything. Dad’s pencil just won’t do, and the police lost-and-found proves to be zero help. Stewart looks everywhere for his best pen and can’t find it anywhere. It’s pen-demonium, if you will. Ultimately, Stewart ends up finding Craig in the most unlikely of places, bringing everything to a satisfying conclusion. The cartoon illustrations are surprisingly funny, depicting Craig as a cheap ballpoint with googly eyes atop an expressive face, arms, and a limber body. He’s not the only anthropomorphic writing tool in the book; Edwards’ world is full of them—a pen and pencil slump dejectedly next to their kids in detention, for instance. Kids will love seeing the shenanigans that Stewart and Craig get into as well as reading their humorous letters. Stewart and his family have beige skin; he and his dad both have straight, black hair.

A cute ode to the written word and the joy of having a favorite pen and pal. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-86773-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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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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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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