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

THE LONGEST LETSGOBOY

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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Wonderful, indeed

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THE WONDERFUL THINGS YOU WILL BE

A GROWING-UP POEM

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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A sweet reminder that love is best measured in actions.

TINY T. REX AND THE PERFECT VALENTINE

Even when well-intended plans go awry, sometimes “I love you” is plastered all over one’s face.

Tiny T. Rex wants to make the perfect valentine for friend Pointy, a stegosaurus. It’s a noble ideal, but perfection is more elusive than the little theropod realized. That’s the premise of this charming board book that succinctly celebrates love, friendship, aspiration, perseverance, limitations, and the notion that it’s the thought that counts—especially when it’s clearly reflected in effort. Like its protagonist, this book is small, but it’s rich in value and works on every level. The artwork has an elegant simplicity that beautifully balances color, personality, and clever detail. A panel of Tiny designing the card in chalk on a blackboard, for example, reveals the scale of the little dino’s intentions: a giant heart, ribbons, smaller hearts dangling from springs, heart-shaped balloons, and fireworks, all much larger than Tiny. The project is clearly a labor of love: Tiny sweats, tugging a bucket of paint—“Pointy’s favorite color!”—but the bucket spills on the artist, not the valentine. Trying to make the card “extra fancy,” Tiny is covered in glitter. Tiny rips, snips, and rerips, trying to make the perfect heart; misspells Pointy; and glues springs and hearts all over everything. When Tiny apologizes for having no valentine for Pointy, Pointy recognizes immediately that the perfect valentine is a friend like Tiny.

A sweet reminder that love is best measured in actions. (Board book. 1-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-8489-0

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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