Families fond of Bear won’t want to wait to read this installment.

BEAR CAN'T WAIT

From the Bear Books series

A favorite ursine returns, this time squirmy and impatient.

Bear’s den is strewn with colorful streamers and presents. Bear himself wears a jaunty polka-dot bow tie. He is excited for a surprise, but it’s not happening until later. “He looks toward the sun, / but the day’s just begun. // But the bear / can’t / wait!” Gopher, Mouse, and Mole stop by with ingredients for a carrot cake, and everyone joins in mixing and measuring. “Raven brings a candle / and Owl brings flowers. / Bear asks, ‘Is it time?’ / But there’s still TWO hours!” Bear starts to get even more antsy. In true preschooler form, he starts to fidget and wriggle, tangling the decor around him. Then, when he rushes to be the first one to help with the cake, he trips—and the cake is squashed! All “because bear / couldn’t / wait!” Suddenly, Bear’s speedy (yet, this time, controlled) tendencies are needed as everyone puts the party together again. Impulsive tots will relate—patience is a difficult skill to grasp. Wilson’s sturdy, familiar verse steadies the story, even amid the flying frosting. Chapman’s equally familiar cute forest animals are as expressive as ever, and Bear’s postures as he struggles to wait will elicit both giggles and sympathy. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 34.8% of actual size.)

Families fond of Bear won’t want to wait to read this installment. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 30, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5975-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: Dec. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way.

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THE PIGEON HAS TO GO TO SCHOOL!

From the Pigeon series

All the typical worries and excuses kids have about school are filtered through Willems’ hysterical, bus-loving Pigeon.

Told mostly in speech balloons, the bird’s monologue will have kids (and their caregivers) in stitches at Pigeon’s excuses. From already knowing everything (except whatever question readers choose to provide in response to “Go ahead—ask me a question. / Any question!”) to fearing learning too much (“My head might pop off”), Pigeon’s imagination has run wild. Readers familiar with Pigeon will recognize the muted, matte backgrounds that show off the bird’s shenanigans so well. As in previous outings, Willems varies the size of the pigeon on the page to help communicate emotion, the bird teeny small on the double-page spread that illustrates the confession that “I’m… / scared.” And Pigeon’s eight-box rant about all the perils of school (“The unknown stresses me out, dude”) is marvelously followed by the realization (complete with lightbulb thought bubble) that school is the place for students to practice, with experts, all those skills they don’t yet have. But it is the ending that is so Willems, so Pigeon, and so perfect. Pigeon’s last question is “Well, HOW am I supposed to get there, anyway!?!” Readers will readily guess both the answer and Pigeon’s reaction.

Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-04645-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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