Third time’s the charm: Groovy Joe may give Pete the Cat a run for his money yet

IF YOU'RE GROOVY AND YOU KNOW IT, HUG A FRIEND!

From the Groovy Joe series

Groovy Joe adds another song to his repertoire in this third outing.

The guitar-strumming dog and his squirrel pal are back with an adaptation of “If You’re Happy and You Know It.” Joe and the little rodent (who lies on Joe’s bed, with its own tiny pillow and blanket) greet the day, explore, laugh and play, and more over the course of this infectious picture book. Lichtenheld’s colored-pencil–and-watercolor illustrations are characteristically lively, bringing Groovy Joe’s world to life and presenting all sorts of animals ready to engage with the world around them and to encourage little readers to do the same. A recording can be downloaded at the publisher’s website. Characters are all lightly anthropomorphized, accessorized with the occasional canteen, backpack, or hat. As the text consists entirely of song lyrics, none of the animals (save for Joe) are specifically gendered. Such details as a rabbit imagining an enormous carrot as the animals plant a community garden and a family of frogs on a log joining in song with Groovy Joe—not to mention the squirrel’s Band-Aid held at the ready for Groovy Joe as he hugs a porcupine—will keep readers engaged, though there is no apparent overarching narrative storyline.

Third time’s the charm: Groovy Joe may give Pete the Cat a run for his money yet . (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-545-88380-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world.

YOU ARE HOME WITH ME

This reassuring picture book exemplifies how parents throughout the animal kingdom make homes for their offspring.

The narrative is written from the point of view of a parent talking to their child: “If you were a beaver, I would gnaw on trees with my teeth to build a cozy lodge for us to sleep in during the day.” Text appears in big, easy-to-read type, with the name of the creature in boldface. Additional facts about the animal appear in a smaller font, such as: “Beavers have transparent eyelids to help them see under water.” The gathering of land, air, and water animals includes a raven, a flying squirrel, and a sea lion. “Home” might be a nest, a den, or a burrow. One example, of a blue whale who has homes in the north and south (ocean is implied), will help children stretch the concept into feeling at home in the larger world. Illustrations of the habitats have an inviting luminosity. Mature and baby animals are realistically depicted, although facial features appear to have been somewhat softened, perhaps to appeal to young readers. The book ends with the comforting scene of a human parent and child silhouetted in the welcoming lights of the house they approach: “Wherever you may be, you will always have a home with me.”

Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world. (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63217-224-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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