Pizza, snow, and a talking pig: a recipe for storytime fun.

PIZZA-PIE SNOWMAN

An intrepid pig named Pinky goes off to fetch a pizza during a snowstorm in this silly home-away-home tale.

Pinky is so focused on remembering the toppings his mother requested—“Mushrooms, mozzarella cheese, / Fresh tomatoes, onions, peas”—that he doesn’t realize that he’s been covered in snow after an altercation with the pesky Squirrel boys. He continues to walk through town, covered in snow from head to toe, with only his snout, eyes, and feet visible. Everyone stops and wonders at the walking snowman, but Pinky doesn’t realized they’re gaping at him. Once inside to order the pizza, the cook recognizes him by his snout, and then the snow melts away. On his way home with the pizza, Mr. Mutt tells him about the walking snowman, “and after their delicious lunch, Pinky and Mommy took a stroll into town. They wanted to see the walking snowman too!” Readers who are in on the joke will find humor in this conclusion and in the story as a whole, with its fully realized watercolor, gouache, and ink depictions of a small town populated by anthropomorphic animals.

Pizza, snow, and a talking pig: a recipe for storytime fun. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3654-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A brassy, assertive fellow—young readers in the middle of their own power struggles will relate.

TOUGH TUG

A tugboat’s size and might are easy to anthropomorphize; add this personified puffer to the mix.

Tough Tug is built near Seattle, made of strong steel welded together and adorned with a fresh coat of bright red paint. Wide googly eyes and a determined smile complete the look. On launch day, Tough Tug triumphantly flashes forward and backward, twirling and swirling through the water. Older tugboats (distinguished variously by mustaches, glasses, and eye patches) grumble at the youngster’s bravado. “Push and pull is what tugs do. Practice THAT.” Tough Tug’s first job is to tow a barge to Alaska. Rhythmic mantras churn across the surface of the water in bold navy letters: “Ready, steady. / Steady, ready. // Chug and tug. / Tug and chug.” But Tough Tug is overeager and challenges Arctic Tug to a race. The thrum changes to “Race and run! / Run and race!” Arctic Tug is first to Sitka, but while crossing the open ocean to Anchorage, the older tug gets into trouble. It’s Tough Tug to the rescue! McClurkan’s digital paintings look quite modern, but there is a feel to his foamy waves that recalls the mid-20th-century harbor of Little Toot. The anthropomorphized boats have plenty of personality, and readers who study the expressions on the container ships will be rewarded. An author’s note explains this was inspired by a true story of one tug rescuing another boat from a competing tugboat company.

A brassy, assertive fellow—young readers in the middle of their own power struggles will relate. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5039-5098-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An innocuous telling, sure to slip in effortlessly with other firetruck books.

FLASH, THE LITTLE FIRE ENGINE

A little fire engine discovers what it’s good at by eliminating what it is not.

Who knew disappointment could be such a keen teaching tool? Narrator Flash is eager to demonstrate firefighting prowess, but every attempt to “save the day” yields bubkes. First Flash is too little to handle a fire at the airport (Crash, an airport crash tender, handles that one). Next Flash is too short to help a tall building that’s on fire (that honor goes to Laddie, a turntable ladder). Finally, an airplane and a foam tender together solve a forest-fire problem. Only when a bridge is suddenly blocked by snow, with all the other trucks on the wrong side of it, does Flash have the opportunity to save a pet shelter that’s ablaze. (Readers will note characters in shirtsleeves at the beginning of the book, so this is a very unexpected snowstorm.) Calvert deftly finds a new way to introduce kids to different kinds of firefighting vehicles by setting up Flash in opposition to situations where it’s just not the best truck for the job. The anthropomorphized engines and planes irritatingly include unnecessary eyelashes on trucks with feminine pronouns, but this is mitigated by the fact that the girls get cool names like “Crash” and save the day first. Enthusiastic if unremarkable digital art presents both firefighters and citizens in an array of genders and races.

An innocuous telling, sure to slip in effortlessly with other firetruck books. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4178-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more