NOW IT IS SUMMER

Reprising the theme of Now It Is Winter (2004) this companion volume is likewise (as Kirkus wrote at the time) “a gentle paean to living in the now.” Constructed as a back-and-forth between a young mouse who yearns for cinnamon muffins, jack-o’-lanterns, piles of leaves, school’s start and other tokens of autumn, and his mother’s counter-invitations to enjoy fresh peaches, a picnic on the beach, a glass of cold lemonade and like pleasures of summer, Spinelli’s narrative is less about realistic dialogue than about poetic arrangements of sounds and rhythms: “Will it be autumn soon? / Will a leafy breeze waken me / by ruffling the curtains at my window? / Will it dapple the air with apple-y scent? / Soon?” Clad in overalls or sun dresses and sporting fur in a multiethnic variety of colors, the saucer-eared clan in DePalma’s sweet illustrations enjoys its outdoorsy summer idyll in both quiet and rowdy ways as the interchange continues, the skies gradually darken to starry blues, and at last mother and child “go barefoot down the stairs / and out into the shimmery, summery night” for some quality time together. The soft visual and verbal cadences make this as apt for bedtime reading as for providing reassurance to impatient young mouselings that present joys will indeed in time give way to future ones. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5340-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2011

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Energetic and earnest but not groundbreaking.

I'M NOT SCARED, YOU'RE SCARED

Unlikely friends Bear and Rabbit face fears together.

The anthropomorphic creatures set out on an adventure. Graphic-based illustrations give the book a Pixar movie feel, with a variety of page layouts that keep the story moving. Large blocks of black text are heavy on dialogue patterns as timid Bear and bold Rabbit encounter obstacles. Bear fears every one of them, from the stream to the mountain. He’ll do anything to avoid the objects of terror: taking a bus, a train, and even a helicopter. As Rabbit asks Bear if he’s frightened, Bear repeatedly responds, “I’m not scared, you’re scared!” and children will delight in the call-and-response opportunities. Adults may tire of the refrain, but attempts to keep everyone entertained are evident in asides about Bear's inability to brush food from his teeth (he’s too afraid to look at himself in the mirror) and Rabbit's superstrong ears (which do come in handy later). When Rabbit finds herself in danger after Bear defects on the adventure, Bear retraces the trip. Along the way, he notes that the stream wasn't as deep, nor the mountain as high, as he thought when he was scared. While picture-book shelves may not be screaming for another comedically sweet bear story, especially one that treads such familiar territory, many readers will appreciate this tale of overcoming fears. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Energetic and earnest but not groundbreaking. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35237-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Flamingo Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

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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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