Cute to occasionally cutesy—but not condescending.

CUDDLY CRITTERS FOR LITTLE GENIUSES

From the Big Words for Little Geniuses series

Tired of horsies, duckies, and kitties? Meet the roseate spoonbill, the Irrawaddy dolphin, the gerenuk, and 45 like specimens of exotic wildlife.

Continuing the vocabulary-building they began in Big Words for Little Geniuses (2017), the Pattersons focus here on creatures with names that beg to be sounded out and relished—from the “silly-looking aye-aye” to the “adorable” dumbo octopus, axolotl, and jerboa. The animals are grouped into the rough categories “Flyers,” “Swimmers,” and “Crawlers,” and each is glossed with a few brief, crowd-pleasing facts or comments. The toucan “sounds like a cross between a pig and a frog!” The chinchilla “might pee on you if it gets scared. It also likes to eat its own poop.” Pan supplies stylized portraits in illustrations that are all bright colors and blobby shapes, as cheery as Matisse paper collages. The beginning and ending are abrupt, the stylization sometimes goes a bit too far (even veteran naturalists will have trouble puzzling out the Sunda colugo), and some selections, such as the angel shark and the blue poison dart frog, don’t seem especially “cuddly.” Still this parade will give the next generation of Jane Goodalls and Roger Tory Petersons a leg up on some of the wild kingdom’s more colorful (and sonorously named) residents.

Cute to occasionally cutesy—but not condescending. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-48628-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

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PUG BLASTS OFF

From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 1

A cuddly, squishy pug’s puggy-wuggy diary.

Equipped with both #pugunicorn and #pughotdog outfits, pug Baron von Bubbles (aka Bub) is the kind of dog that always dresses to impress. Bub also makes lots of memorable faces, such as the “Hey, you’re not the boss of me!” expression aimed at Duchess, the snooty pink house cat. Some of Bub’s favorite things include skateboarding, a favorite teddy, and eating peanut butter. Bub also loves Bella, who adopted Bub from a fair—it was “love at first sniff.” Together, Bub and Bella do a lot of arts and crafts. Their latest project: entering Bella’s school’s inventor challenge by making a super-duper awesome rocket. But, when the pesky neighborhood squirrel, Nutz, makes off with Bub’s bear, Bub accidentally ruins their project. How will they win the contest? More importantly, how will Bella ever forgive him? May’s cutesy, full-color cartoon art sets the tone for this pug-tastic romp for the new-to–chapter-books crowd. Emojilike faces accentuate Bub’s already expressive character design. Bub’s infectious first-person narration pushes the silly factor off the charts. In addition to creating the look and feel of a diary, the lined paper helps readers follow the eight-chapter story. Most pages have fewer than five sentences, often broken into smaller sections. Additional text appears in color-coded speech bubbles. Bella presents white.

Totes adorbs. (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53003-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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A strong, accessible diary story for readers seeking an adorable animal tale.

PUG'S SNOW DAY

From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 2

Bub the anxious pug tackles snow days and new neighbors in his second outing.

Bub, acclaimed by some as “the cutest pug on the planet,” at first shares the enthusiasm owner Bella expresses about snow days even though he doesn’t know what they are. Then Duchess the cat (mildly antagonistic, in typical feline fashion) rains on Bub’s parade by pointing out that snow is water—and Bub’s no fan of rain or baths. After a comedic and disastrous first attempt, Bub learns how to properly dress for snow and enjoy it. The outdoor fun’s cut short by mysterious noises coming from the new neighbor, which frighten Bella into thinking there’s a monster. Bub puts on a Sherlock Holmes get-up to investigate but becomes afraid himself of the new neighbor’s large dog. Finally, Bella meets Jack, who’s been working on a tree fort, and his dog, Luna, who is enthusiastically friendly. The story ends on a positive note, as they all happily work together on the fort. The full-color cartoon illustrations, especially of Bub, are adorably expressive and certain to please the age group. The generous font and format—short, diary-entry paragraphs and speech-bubble conversations—create a quick pace. Bub’s stylized emoji bubbles return and are most hilarious when used to express his nervous flatulence. Bella and Jack both present white.

A strong, accessible diary story for readers seeking an adorable animal tale. (Fantasy. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53006-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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