Stunning, tender, and brilliant. Readers will laugh and cry—but most of all love.


A dog savors one last outing with his little girl, remembering puppyhood and simple pleasures before passing, while their love lives on, enriching and inspiring new adventures as they unfold.

Floppy-eared and graying, an old dog rises to still find wonder in the world—from the fireball sun and puffer clouds to the swirly wind and a good old stretch—but it’s his forever friend, Little, who makes him “wigglewag” with joy. As the brown-skinned child with her black mop of hair calls out “Letsgoboy!” memories of leaping and chasing squirrels surface. The dog gazes upon this remarkable world and “wuffwuffs” his farewells, and Little gives him her tightest “lovesqueeze.” Under a luminous sky, he closes his eyes, and twilight blue bursts into a dazzling kaleidoscope, and he can “runjump” again. He sees the family mourn and the seasons change, until one spring Little is on a “letsgoboy” with a new puppy. Happy to feel her joy, he joins her in spirit, knowing they are each other’s friends forever. Mixed-media illustrations masterfully play with scale, composition, and perspective; and Chien’s use of simple, exploratory shapes and patterns creates enchanting characters and landscapes full of energy, peace, and transformation. Told from the dog’s perspective, the playful and poignant text offers an arc beautifully visualized by Chien, whose palette choices flex with the narrative. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Stunning, tender, and brilliant. Readers will laugh and cry—but most of all love. (Picture book. 3-adult)

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7716-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

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Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires.


Little Blue Truck feels, well, blue when he delivers valentine after valentine but receives nary a one.

His bed overflowing with cards, Blue sets out to deliver a yellow card with purple polka dots and a shiny purple heart to Hen, one with a shiny fuchsia heart to Pig, a big, shiny, red heart-shaped card to Horse, and so on. With each delivery there is an exchange of Beeps from Blue and the appropriate animal sounds from his friends, Blue’s Beeps always set in blue and the animal’s vocalization in a color that matches the card it receives. But as Blue heads home, his deliveries complete, his headlight eyes are sad and his front bumper droops ever so slightly. Blue is therefore surprised (but readers may not be) when he pulls into his garage to be greeted by all his friends with a shiny blue valentine just for him. In this, Blue’s seventh outing, it’s not just the sturdy protagonist that seems to be wilting. Schertle’s verse, usually reliable, stumbles more than once; stanzas such as “But Valentine’s Day / didn’t seem much fun / when he didn’t get cards / from anyone” will cause hitches during read-alouds. The illustrations, done by Joseph in the style of original series collaborator Jill McElmurry, are pleasant enough, but his compositions often feel stiff and forced.

Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-27244-1

Page Count: 20

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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A love song to baby with delightful illustrations to boot.

Sweet but not saccharine and singsong but not forced, Martin’s text is one that will invite rereadings as it affirms parental wishes for children while admirably keeping child readers at its heart. The lines that read “This is the first time / There’s ever been you, / So I wonder what wonderful things / You will do” capture the essence of the picture book and are accompanied by a diverse group of babies and toddlers clad in downright adorable outfits. Other spreads include older kids, too, and pictures expand on the open text to visually interpret the myriad possibilities and hopes for the depicted children. For example, a spread reading “Will you learn how to fly / To find the best view?” shows a bespectacled, school-aged girl on a swing soaring through an empty white background. This is just one spread in which Martin’s fearless embrace of the white of the page serves her well. Throughout the book, she maintains a keen balance of layout choices, and surprising details—zebras on the wallpaper behind a father cradling his child, a rock-’n’-roll band of mice paralleling the children’s own band called “The Missing Teeth”—add visual interest and gentle humor. An ideal title for the baby-shower gift bag and for any nursery bookshelf or lap-sit storytime.

Wonderful, indeed . (Picture book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37671-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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