Though the plot is accessible to the very young, its apocalyptic vision may not be.

THE LAST TIGER

Can a little boy and a big cat start a new society?

Luka huddles inside a large industrial pipe, surrounded by rubble that includes the top of the Statue of Liberty. It's "a strange world," Elliott tells readers. "There were no trees, no plants...and no animals." Except for the last tiger, crosshatched black and golden yellow against a smoky background of metal waste and grim skies. Luka rescues the tiger, whose paw is painfully caught in a tin can, and the tiger thanks him with a flower. A friendship is born, and the two begin some serious play. But a plane soars by trailing a big net; the tiger is captured and caged, and Luka can't get near him, so thick are the throngs of gaping people. Luka decides to hide in the tiger's old cave, where he finds a lush garden! Surely the people won't want to keep the tiger caged once they see it. Standing atop the tiger's cage, he shouts, "Follow me!" The people eagerly do, and, finding this verdant paradise, their despair turns to hope. "Please teach us," they implore the tiger, and for the first time since he was playing with Luka, the tiger smiles. Starkly evocative illustrations with effective use of color and minimal text convey Elliott's delicate fable of friendship and concern for posterity.

Though the plot is accessible to the very young, its apocalyptic vision may not be. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7459-6384-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lion/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012

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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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A solid, small step for diversifying STEM stories.

ASTRONAUT ANNIE

What does Annie want to be?

As career day approaches, Annie wants to keep her job choice secret until her family sees her presentation at school. Readers will figure it out, however, through the title and clues Tadgell incorporates into the illustrations. Family members make guesses about her ambitions that are tied to their own passions, although her brother watches as she completes her costume in a bedroom with a Mae Jemison poster, starry décor, and a telescope. There’s a celebratory mood at the culminating presentation, where Annie says she wants to “soar high through the air” like her basketball-playing mother, “explore faraway places” like her hiker dad, and “be brave and bold” like her baker grandmother (this feels forced, but oven mitts are part of her astronaut costume) so “the whole world will hear my exciting stories” like her reporter grandfather. Annie jumps off a chair to “BLAST OFF” in a small illustration superimposed on a larger picture depicting her floating in space with a reddish ground below. It’s unclear if Annie imagines this scene or if it’s her future-self exploring Mars, but either scenario fits the aspirational story. Backmatter provides further reading suggestions and information about the moon and four women astronauts, one of whom is Jemison. Annie and her family are all black.

A solid, small step for diversifying STEM stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-88448-523-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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