As naps go, this is about as strenuous—and as funny—as it gets.

I WILL TAKE A NAP!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Poor Gerald the elephant—all he wants is to take a nap.

A bleary-eyed Gerald blinks out at readers from the cover, blanket and Knuffle bunny tucked in his arms. Piggie’s head pokes into the frame from the side at a 90-degree angle, hinting at the disruption to come. Inside, “I am tired,” Gerald announces. “And cranky. // I am going to take a nap.” Those declarations set off a characteristically hilarious encounter between the fussbudget elephant and his porcine pal. He spreads out his mat, lies down…and in marches Piggie, hollering, “GERALD!” Gerald explodes from slumber in alarm. Readers will not find it at all surprising, though they will find it funny, that pretty soon Gerald’s cranky mood spreads to Piggie, who decides that she will take a nap, too: “SNORE! / SNORE! SNORE! SNORE!” Several pages later, the stertorous swine wakes up, rested and smiling. “How are you enjoying your nap, Gerald?” Beside himself, the elephant rages that he is “NOT napping!”—but if he’s not napping, then how come Piggie is floating? And endowed with a turnip-head? Careful readers will have noticed the change in background color that cues this extended dream sequence—and they may also find themselves wondering whether Gerald could possibly be as rested as he seems when he really wakes up.

As naps go, this is about as strenuous—and as funny—as it gets. (Early reader. 3-9)

Pub Date: June 2, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4847-1630-4

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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