Droll humor, an unusual design, and an appealing main character add up to a funny addition to the canon of canines adjusting...

POOR LOUIE

A pampered Chihuahua gradually realizes its owners are preparing for an impending arrival in the family.

Little Louie enjoys a pleasant, predictable life with Mom and Dad, who are white, as they meet the pup’s every need. Louie eats at the table with them, sleeps in their bed, and enjoys being at the center of their attention. Things begin to change with the visits of friends with babies, and then Mom begins to grow visibly larger in the belly region. New purchases are made, with matching sets of each item, such as little beds, sweaters, and hats. When Louie spies a double stroller, the conclusion seems inevitable: twins must be on the way. After an unsuccessful attempt at running away, Louie is pleased to meet just one new “baby brother.” In the final scene, Louie and the baby are shown together in the stroller wearing matching hats and sweaters. Fluid, line-and-color illustrations in pencil and watercolor use a sophisticated palette of gray or white backgrounds with minimal color accents. An extra-large trim size allows for a pleasing variety of illustration perspectives, including two huge, double-page spreads with laugh-out-loud views of Louie being kicked by the then–in utero baby and imagining the arrival of twins. Fucile’s background as a feature film animator is evident in the comedic pacing and polished, understated composition of scenic constructions.

Droll humor, an unusual design, and an appealing main character add up to a funny addition to the canon of canines adjusting to new babies. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5828-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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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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