Pfister tackles a common frustration with which youngsters will relate; unfortunately, glittery scales are the only thing to...

YOU CAN'T WIN THEM ALL, RAINBOW FISH

Twenty-five years after the original shimmering publication, Rainbow Fish returns to learn a lesson in good sportsmanship.

Rainbow Fish and his friends are playing hide-and-seek. Rainbow Fish is the first to be “it.” He has played this game so many times he believes that he knows all the hiding places in the shoal. Overconfident, he sets off to look. But he can’t find anyone! One by one the fish swim out of their hiding places, much to Rainbow Fish’s chagrin. Then, when Little Blue is the seeker, he finds Rainbow Fish immediately. Rainbow Fish angrily throws a tantrum and swims away. The newest character to the series, Red Fin, gently explains to Rainbow Fish that sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose. An apology neatly wraps up this aquatic morality tale. Translated from German, the text is didactic and straightforward; the one textual bright spot is an enthusiastic, “I’ll find you in a fishy flash!” Lending visual sparkle, of course, is the series’ trademark foil scales. Saturated blues and greens, with splashes of yellow and pink, infuse the underwater world.

Pfister tackles a common frustration with which youngsters will relate; unfortunately, glittery scales are the only thing to add shine to these lackluster depths. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4287-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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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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Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable.

ANIMAL SHAPES

You think you know shapes? Animals? Blend them together, and you might see them both a little differently!

What a mischievous twist on a concept book! With wordplay and a few groan-inducing puns, Neal creates connections among animals and shapes that are both unexpected and so seemingly obvious that readers might wonder why they didn’t see them all along. Of course, a “lazy turtle” meeting an oval would create the side-splitting combo of a “SLOW-VAL.” A dramatic page turn transforms a deeply saturated, clean-lined green oval by superimposing a head and turtle shell atop, with watery blue ripples completing the illusion. Minimal backgrounds and sketchy, impressionistic detailing keep the focus right on the zany animals. Beginning with simple shapes, the geometric forms become more complicated as the book advances, taking readers from a “soaring bird” that meets a triangle to become a “FLY-ANGLE” to a “sleepy lion” nonagon “YAWN-AGON.” Its companion text, Animal Colors, delves into color theory, this time creating entirely hybrid animals, such as the “GREEN WHION” with maned head and whale’s tail made from a “blue whale and a yellow lion.” It’s a compelling way to visualize color mixing, and like Animal Shapes, it’s got verve. Who doesn’t want to shout out that a yellow kangaroo/green moose blend is a “CHARTREUSE KANGAMOOSE”?

Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0534-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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