As sweet and benign as a summer daisy.

ROOTING FOR YOU

A flower-to-be, looking like a green pea and behaving just like a human preschooler, voices its fears about its inevitable transformation.

There’s the dark. (“You never know / who might be digging… / …in the DARK.”) There’s the equally scary-seeming light looming above. With bona fide impediments like rocks and spiders popping up, young readers should develop real empathy for the little plant during its complex transit. A bespectacled worm offers encouragement and reassurance, flanked by ants and beetles. “There are friends to feed you, / friends to weed you, / and friends indeed who / really need you!” A series of gatefolds serves to reinforce the sense of expansiveness of soil and, later, blue sky, as the seed-turned-sprout grows into a towering, daisylike flower. Cordell uses a flat, matte color palette of browns, greens, worm-pink and sky blue, with thick black line for details. He preserves the plant’s personality throughout its growth spurt, successively using the same pale green hue and facial expressions for the seed, sprout and the flower’s center. Hood’s rhyming text is charming, but the final gatefold, a full three pages tall, must be folded away and turned before its verse can be concluded on the final spread—a slight detraction from the flow.

As sweet and benign as a summer daisy. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-5230-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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Another solid addition to the beloved series.

LLAMA LLAMA BACK TO SCHOOL

Summertime with all its pleasures is coming to an end, and school will soon begin again. What challenges will the new school year bring for Llama?

Told in a by-now-trademark rhyming verse style and accompanied by adorable, cheerful oil paint, colored pencil, and oil pastel illustrations, this story finds Llama taking pleasure in all the fun that summer brings—and hoping it will never be over. “Fishing, hiking, slip and slide. / Backyard camping, picnic time.” But as sure as one season follows another, fall is on its way and school will be starting again. Mamma Llama takes Llama shopping for new school supplies, but the expression on little Llama’s face makes it clear that preparing to return to school is anything but fun. Soon, the first day of school comes, and Llama is ready. There are so many rules: “Be on time. / Don’t push or shove. Stand in line. / Do not shout. Raise your hand.” “Lunch in cubbies. Coats on hooks.” But these are seasoned students, and they take it in stride. All except for one: A young rhino is new and feeling scared. Llama knows just what to do, sharing crayons and showing the newcomer how to glue. Soon the rhino is part of the gang. As is characteristic of the series, this is one more situation familiar to many a young child solved in sweet Llama style. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Another solid addition to the beloved series. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35244-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

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