The combination of a simple but satisfying plot and vibrant art adds up to a story that succeeds on several levels. Yes, we...

CAN YOU FIND PUP?

From the I Like To Read series

In this amusing early reader, a young left-handed artist ignores his talented poodle until Pup runs away to join the circus.

The little boy, Tate, wears a black beret and a jaunty, red scarf as he creates pencil sketches of his cats, flowers and insects in his garden, and clowns at the circus. Pup makes desperate bids for Tate’s attention, painting his own fur with tubes of paint, swinging from a tree branch, and juggling balls for the clowns. When Pup follows the clowns and joins the circus, Tate is sad at the loss of his pet. He posts 10 colored-pencil portraits of Pup outside the circus tent, leading to a happy reunion of boy and dog. The story’s clever construction has a brightly colored illustration of Tate busily sketching on one double-page spread followed by a spread displaying Tate’s large, black-and-white drawing that includes 10 similar items in a busy seek-and-find design. The minimal text works well as an early reader, but this clever story will also be a fine choice for preschoolers who are learning to count to 10, and it even teaches a little about different art methods. Lively illustrations in watercolor and ink are filled with tiny details and funny expressions for Tate and Pup and their feline friends. All the human characters, including the clowns, present white.

The combination of a simple but satisfying plot and vibrant art adds up to a story that succeeds on several levels. Yes, we can find Pup! And we’d like to see him (and Tate) again. (Early reader/picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3940-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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A riotously fresh take on breaking the fourth wall.

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THE BOOK WITH NO PICTURES

This book may not have pictures, but it’s sure to inspire lots of conversations—and laughs.

Television writer, actor and comedian Novak delivers a rare find, indeed: a very good celebrity picture book. It doesn’t even seem fair to call it such, since it has nothing to do with his Emmy Award–winning writing for The Office or the fame his broader career has afforded him. The jacket flap even eschews a glossy photo, instead saying “B.J. has brown hair and blue eyes,” in order to keep with the book’s central conceit. What this book does have is text, and it’s presented through artful typography that visually conveys its changing tone to guide oral readings. Furthermore, the text implies (or rather, demands) a shared reading transaction, in which an adult is compelled to read the text aloud, no matter how “COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS” it is. Employing direct address, it pleads with the implied child listener to allow him or her to stop reading. Nonsense words, silly words to be sung and even a smattering of potty talk for good measure all coalesce in riotous read-aloud fare. Although the closing pages beg the implied child reader to “please please please please / please / choose a book with pictures” for subsequent reading, it’s likely that this request will be ignored.

A riotously fresh take on breaking the fourth wall. (. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8037-4171-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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Whether in hand or on shelf, this one’s sure to make a splash anywhere and everywhere.

I'M ON IT!

From the Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! series

A frog tries to do everything a goat does, too.

Goat asks Frog to look at them before declaring “I’m ON it!” while balancing atop a tree stump near a pond. After an “Oooh!” and a “You know what?” Frog leaps off their lily pad to balance on a rock: “I’m on it, too!” Goat grabs a prop so that they can be both “on it AND beside it.” (It may take young readers a little bit to realize there are two its.) So does Frog. The competition continues as Frog struggles to mimic overconfident Goat’s antics. In addition to on and beside, the pair adds inside, between, under, and more. Eventually, it all gets to be too much for Frog to handle, so Frog falls into the water, resumes position on the lily pad, and declares “I am OVER it” while eating a fly. In an act of solidarity, Goat jumps in, too. In Tsurumi’s first foray into early readers she pares down her energetic, colorful cartoon style to the bare essentials without losing any of the madcap fun. Using fewer than 80 repeated words (over 12 of which are prepositions), the clever text instructs, delights, and revels in its own playfulness. Color-coded speech bubbles (orange for Goat, green for Frog) help match the dialogue with each speaker. Like others in the Elephant & Piggie Like Reading series, Elephant and Piggie metafictively bookend the main narrative with hilariously on-the-nose commentary.

Whether in hand or on shelf, this one’s sure to make a splash anywhere and everywhere. (Early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-368-06696-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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