It’s capably enough executed, but there are no surprises here.

I THOUGHT THIS WAS A BEAR BOOK

An extraterrestrial spaceship crashes into the “Goldilocks” fairy tale in this mashup metafictive picture book.

Prince Zilch, from Planet Zero, is unexpectedly bumped out of his book and into Goldilocks & 3 Bears, where his presence alters the plot considerably. Determined to find his way back to his own book, he enlists the help of the bewildered bears, who were picking blueberries (being sick of porridge) when the alien landed. The familiar trappings of the “Goldilocks” story are put into service with this new plot: the three chairs are balanced one on top of the other to try to boost Prince Zilch out of the confines of the book—and Baby Bear’s chair breaks. Next, the three mattresses are stacked into a makeshift trampoline, and the bears make reference to their springiness (“That’s what you think,” Goldilocks mutters). Davies’ flattish, colorful illustrations, dotted with variously colored speech bubbles, keep the visual stimulation high, but they cannot keep the story, with its overdependence on subversive Goldilocks-fairy-tale digs, from wearing thin. And when, in a metamoment, Baby Bear enlists the help of readers, entreating them, “Can you shake the book? Go ahead, shake it! Then turn the page!” it is less of an eye-opener in this popular subgenre and more of a “been there; done that.”

It’s capably enough executed, but there are no surprises here. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4424-6307-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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Daddy-and-child dog lovers can try some of these canine ways of expressing affection.

DADDIES ARE AWESOME

Puppies celebrate the many ways their dads are awesome.

“Daddies are playful. / They swing you around. // You ride on their shoulders / or hang upside down.” The first spread pictures a scruffy pup, mouth clamped on its dad’s tail, hanging. The second features a long dachshund, his four pups using the large expanse of his back as a jungle gym or resting spot. The husky dad is labeled as daring, brave, and strong, while the hound takes his pup on adventures (digging and hiding under a bush). Other dog dads give kisses and tickles, tell bedtime stories and help count sheep (a stuffed toy), and help their pups grow (challenging them with stairs and carrying them when the going gets tough). Lovšin creatively interprets some of the text that applies well to kids but not so well to canines: dad and pup at each end of a long stick held in their mouths is the dog equivalent of holding hands. Though many dog breeds will be familiar, some are just mutts, though all are shown caring for and enjoying the company of their offspring. White backgrounds keep the focus on the dogs.

Daddy-and-child dog lovers can try some of these canine ways of expressing affection. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 17, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-452-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow...

THE BOOK HOG

A porcine hoarder of books learns to read—and to share.

The Book Hog’s obsession is clear from the start. Short declarative sentences describe his enthusiasm (“The Book Hog loved books”), catalog the things he likes about the printed page, and eventually reveal his embarrassing secret (“He didn’t know how to read”). While the text is straightforward, plenty of amusing visual details will entertain young listeners. A picture of the Book Hog thumbing through a book while seated on the toilet should induce some giggles. The allusive name of a local bookshop (“Wilbur’s”) as well as the covers of a variety of familiar and much-loved books (including some of the author’s own) offer plenty to pore over. And the fact that the titles become legible only after our hero learns to read is a particularly nice touch. A combination of vignettes, single-page illustrations and double-page spreads that feature Pizzoli’s characteristic style—heavy black outlines, a limited palette of mostly salmon and mint green, and simple shapes—move the plot along briskly. Librarians will appreciate the positive portrayal of Miss Olive, an elephant who welcomes the Book Hog warmly to storytime, though it’s unlikely most will be able to match her superlative level of service.

There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow bibliophiles, and the author’s fans will enjoy making another anthropomorphic animal friend. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-03689-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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