Each dog is introduced by name and characteristics on two facing pages with a portrait of the dog and a few lines of text...


Dogs of diverse descriptions are coerced by their owners into participating in a costume parade in this less-than-engaging story that tries too hard to be funny.

Each dog is introduced by name and characteristics on two facing pages with a portrait of the dog and a few lines of text from each dog’s perspective. Key words and approximations of the dogs’ barks and howls are set in varying typefaces and special treatments, interspersed with spot illustrations that delineate each dog’s character. The introduction of each dog is followed by a double-page spread of the costumed canine, with one descriptive word set in huge type related to the choice of costume. A pug named Gracie-Pants is happy to put on her ruffled dress and beribboned hat (Charmin’!”), and an obliging dachshund wears a hotdog outfit (“Weenie!”), but some of the other dogs are reluctant to try on their costumes. Eight dogs in all are costumed for the parade, and in the final pages, they are joined by other furry friends with floating balloons and sprinkles of confetti. Yelchin’s amusing gouache illustrations provide plenty of personality and clever humor for the pooches, but the overly cheery text, exaggerated canine noise approximations and a glut of exclamation marks don’t add up to a noteworthy story. (And the bathroom jokes surrounding the dog named Tinkles get old fast.)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-15-206690-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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A forgettable tale.


Dot, the smallest reindeer at the North Pole, is too little to fly with the reindeer team on Christmas Eve, but she helps Santa in a different, unexpected way.

Dot is distressed because she can’t jump and fly like the other, bigger reindeer. Her family members encourage her and help her practice her skills, and her mother tells her, “There’s always next year.” Dot’s elf friend, Oliver, encourages her and spends time playing with her, doing things that Dot can do well, such as building a snowman and chasing their friend Yeti (who looks like a fuzzy, white gumdrop). On Christmas Eve, Santa and the reindeer team take off with their overloaded sleigh. Only Dot notices one small present that’s fallen in the snow, and she successfully leaps into the departing sleigh with the gift. This climactic flying leap into the sleigh is not adequately illustrated, as Dot is shown just starting to leap and then already in the sleigh. A saccharine conclusion notes that being little can sometimes be great and that “having a friend by your side makes anything possible.” The story is pleasant but predictable, with an improbably easy solution to Dot’s problem. Illustrations in a muted palette are similarly pleasant but predictable, with a greeting-card flavor that lacks originality. The elf characters include boys, girls, and adults; all the elves and Santa and Mrs. Claus are white.

A forgettable tale. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-15738-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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


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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