A sweet, self-esteem–building pas de deux.


From the When You Adopt series

Mrs. Paws’s Haven for Magical Pets comes through again.

Having in previous outings—When You Adopt a Starwhal (2020) and When You Adopt a Pugicorn (2021)—paired animals with children in need of life lessons, the perceptive proprietor of Twinkleton-Under-Beanstalk’s pet emporium has just the right companion to help clumsy, pale-skinned Princess Skye find her dancing feet before light brown–skinned Queen Elsie’s Birthday Ball—to wit, a rainbow-eared panda kitted out in ballet shoes and a pink tutu. Despite the outfit, though, Pandarina proves a total klutz both in and out of dance class…at least at first. But as Skye watches the persistent panda pick herself up after each spill and keep practicing, her despair changes to a matching determination to do likewise, and by the time the ball rolls around, she’s feeling good enough about her efforts that she’s even able to take a tumble in stride. Rose’s twinkly conclusion that “when you try your best and have fun, you’ll always be the star of the show” finds tonal equivalent in Budgen’s pastel-hued gatherings of cute magical creatures (including Starwhal and Pugicorn, in cameos) and ballet students who are not only racially diverse, but include a dancer who uses a wheelchair. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A sweet, self-esteem–building pas de deux. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4197-5731-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends


From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...


A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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