A humorous friendship story with a little bit of an ironic twist.


Wyatt, with his tranquil predisposition, is unfortunately paired up with bold, noisy Noreen on a class trip to a nature park.

Strong, black pencil outlines create humorous caricatures, filled in with watercolor and gouache. Noreen’s big, bushy red ponytail plays off well against Wyatt’s mousy brown hair. She starts off boasting. “Fishing is my specialty” and “I was born for boating,” she brags. The illustrations show quite a different story. She tangles her line around Wyatt and causes him to fall out of the canoe. In an amusing double-page spread, she studies a butterfly and says, “I’m so good at noticing the details, it’s scary. “Meanwhile, she misses the large, bewildered beasts behind her. The two share other adventures, all dictated by Noreen: dangerous tree-climbing, hiking into poison ivy, zip lining. Finally, Noreen breaks into song just as she is walking down a hill that bears a sign warning of avalanche. Wyatt’s ninja-camp training, shown early in the book, kicks into high gear. He yells first and then, with a series of heroic moves, pulls Noreen out of the way of the descending rocks. Yes, it could be viewed as a typical boy-rescues-girl story, but in the end, Noreen and Wyatt end up enjoying nature quietly and doing martial arts together. These two opposite personalities are both white, although there is some diversity in the class.

A humorous friendship story with a little bit of an ironic twist. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-11330-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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An honest look at motherhood in the contemporary era and a sweet tribute to the bond between mother and child.


Grammy-winning, multiplatinum singer/songwriter Rowland teams up with California teacher McKay to celebrate busy moms.

This picture book highlights a mother’s frequent longing to be with her child when life’s demands pull them apart. The story takes us through a busy Black mom’s week: She goes to work (at a construction site where she appears to be an engineer), works from home on her son’s sick day, takes him to a museum, and shares domestic duties with her Black male partner, who is a nurse. She encounters many bumps in the road that will be familiar to working parents. Each day, she gently reassures her son with a lyrical refrain: “Always with you, / Always with me, / Mommy and child / Together we’ll be.” This tender story, narrated in the voice of a mother addressing her child, pulls at the heartstrings. Liem’s digital artwork uses a warm palette and has a calming quality. The characters’ body language and heartfelt facial expressions are spot-on. This book will resonate with any mom who knows the heartache of having to say goodbye to their child or who has faced the teary-eyed frustration of a youngster experiencing separation anxiety. Young readers, on the other hand, will find solace in the reassuring narrative. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An honest look at motherhood in the contemporary era and a sweet tribute to the bond between mother and child. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-46551-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 1

A cuddly, squishy pug’s puggy-wuggy diary.

Equipped with both #pugunicorn and #pughotdog outfits, pug Baron von Bubbles (aka Bub) is the kind of dog that always dresses to impress. Bub also makes lots of memorable faces, such as the “Hey, you’re not the boss of me!” expression aimed at Duchess, the snooty pink house cat. Some of Bub’s favorite things include skateboarding, a favorite teddy, and eating peanut butter. Bub also loves Bella, who adopted Bub from a fair—it was “love at first sniff.” Together, Bub and Bella do a lot of arts and crafts. Their latest project: entering Bella’s school’s inventor challenge by making a super-duper awesome rocket. But, when the pesky neighborhood squirrel, Nutz, makes off with Bub’s bear, Bub accidentally ruins their project. How will they win the contest? More importantly, how will Bella ever forgive him? May’s cutesy, full-color cartoon art sets the tone for this pug-tastic romp for the new-to–chapter-books crowd. Emojilike faces accentuate Bub’s already expressive character design. Bub’s infectious first-person narration pushes the silly factor off the charts. In addition to creating the look and feel of a diary, the lined paper helps readers follow the eight-chapter story. Most pages have fewer than five sentences, often broken into smaller sections. Additional text appears in color-coded speech bubbles. Bella presents white.

Totes adorbs. (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53003-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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