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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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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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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