In this mini-adventure, the grumpy villain is a deceptively deep puddle. The crafty mud first lures a pizza truck into its apparently shallow depths: "Slurp." Followed in short order is a police car—"Glurp." As more vehicles come to the rescue ("Blurp," "Flurp," "Plurp"), they all succumb to the muddy, sticky gunk and stuck they stay, but before the young reader can despair, it's "preschool to the rescue!" The perspective suddenly widens, and the viewer sees that the vehicles are toys. As they rush onto the schoolyard, each lively preschool animal is armed with a shovel or a Popsicle stick and they go to work extricating the little trucks. Once they have done that, they utterly vanquish the mud puddle by fashioning it into pies, pizzas, and cookies, getting wonderfully grubby in the process. Sierra (The Gift of the Crocodile, 2000, etc.) tells her chirpy story in repetitive prose as the puddle victims accumulate. Hillenbrand's (Kiss the Cow, 2000, etc.) illustrations are double-paged delights. The mud puddle is not merely brown, but illuminated by subtle hues of purple, blue, pink, green, turquoise, red, and orange while still retaining its essential muckiness (and two eyes and a nose). The preschoolers dressed in ultra-bright rain gear make it clear that a little mud never hurt anyone—in fact, it might even add to the fun. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-15-202035-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Gulliver/Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2001

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A handsome edition of an old favorite.


The familiar cumulative game is played by four children, along with their father and their dog, at the typically British beach pictured on the lovely, expansive first endpaper. 

The children's real activities are shown in b&w drawings; the imaginative doings appear in full color. Although some of the color pages show perfectly possible events, most are clearly fantasy, suggesting just how close the two may be in children's minds. The family ends up in safe retreat in one big cozy bed; the bear is seen--on the second essential, beautiful endpaper--headed into a gloomy sea. Oxenbury's splendid watercolors and drawings perfectly evoke both landscape and the members of the questing family. 

A handsome edition of an old favorite. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 1989

ISBN: 978-0-689-50476-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1989

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Sure to assuage the fears of all astronauts bound for similar missions.


A genius way to ease kids into the new adventure that is kindergarten.

In an imaginative ruse that’s maintained through the whole book, a young astronaut prepares for his mission to Planet Kindergarten. On liftoff day (a space shuttle–themed calendar counts down the days; a stopwatch, the minutes), the small family boards their rocket ship (depicted in the illustrations as the family car), and “the boosters fire.” They orbit base camp while looking for a docking place. “I am assigned to my commander, capsule, and crewmates.” Though he’s afraid, he stands tall and is brave (not just once, either—the escape hatch beckons, but NASA’s saying gets him through: “FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION”). Parents will certainly chuckle along with this one, but kindergarten teachers’ stomach muscles will ache: “[G]ravity works differently here. We have to try hard to stay in our seats. And our hands go up a lot.” Prigmore’s digital illustrations are the perfect complement to the tongue-in-cheek text. Bold colors, sharp lines and a retro-space style play up the theme. The intrepid explorer’s crewmates are a motley assortment of “aliens”—among them are a kid in a hoodie with the laces pulled so tight that only a nose and mouth are visible; a plump kid with a bluish cast to his skin; and a pinkish girl with a toothpick-thin neck and huge bug eyes.

Sure to assuage the fears of all astronauts bound for similar missions. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 20, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4521-1893-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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