Not likely to be much of a surprise even for diapered cake eaters, but this uncomplicated, feel-good debut is definitely a...


From the Georgie and Friends series

Georgie the cat is eager to throw a party—but none of his friends can come! Bummer.

Georgie, a true party animal, wakes up with “the best of best ideas” and rushes out to buy a cake and make the rounds of his friends to deliver invitations. But…floppy-eared Feta the dog (“his go-to party pal”) is too busy making pickles, Lester the rat is in the middle of untangling a string of lights, shy Ferdinand the mole feels like staying in his storm drain, and all of Georgie’s other animal friends present similarly weak excuses. In simply drawn cartoon illustrations, Chan tracks her increasingly discouraged kitty through a long day that dims into night. By the time the streetlights come on he is out of friends (and, being a nibbler, also out of cake) and so wanders wearily home—to a big, bright, joyous “SURPRISE!” that his friends had been preparing all along. The story is slight, repetitious, and predictable, but Georgie is pretty doggone adorable, and Chan makes up for its narrative simplicity with plenty to look at, playing with perspective and lighting to emphasize Georgie’s increasing dejection.

Not likely to be much of a surprise even for diapered cake eaters, but this uncomplicated, feel-good debut is definitely a charmer. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62672-269-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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Just the thing to get uncertain youngsters jazzed for a first day—at school or anywhere.


Barnes and Brantley-Newton team up for a follow-up to The King of Kindergarten (2019).

From the very first page, it’s clear that young MJ Malone is ready to face the world—and school. Once Mom bestows her with a glittery tiara and dubs her the queen of kindergarten, MJ is determined to fulfill her duties—brighten up every room she enters, treat others with kindness, and offer a helping hand. Barnes infuses each page with humor and a sense of grace as the immensely likable MJ makes the most of her first day. Barnes’ prose is entertaining and heartwarming, while Brantley-Newton’s vivid and playful artwork will be easily recognizable for anyone who’s seen her work (Grandma’s Purse, 2018; Becoming Vanessa, 2021). The illustrator adds verve to the bold young heroine’s character—from the colorful barrettes to the textured appearance of her adorable denim jumper, the girl has style and substance. MJ Malone embodies the can-do spirit every parent hopes to spark in their own children, though even shy kindergarteners will gladly find a friend in her. MJ and her family are Black; her classroom is diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Just the thing to get uncertain youngsters jazzed for a first day—at school or anywhere. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 24, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-11142-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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