What adventure’s next? (Picture book. 4-7)

CAMP REX

Fresh from the pages of Tea Rex (2013), Cordelia, her younger brother and his teddy this time join their dino pals for a camping expedition.

Again limiting the text to sage words of wisdom—which sound remarkably like a true outdoorsy book about camping might—Idle lets the illustrations tell the tale. Once the hike and pitching of tents (most too small for dinos) are accomplished, things quickly degrade with “Learning about local flora and fauna can be great fun!” Berries, poison ivy and a hive of bees all play a role. A “refreshing…dip in a mountain lake” leads to some broken canoe paddles and a few fish for the campfire, where the singalong prompts Cordelia to stuff marshmallows in her ears. Especially hysterical for seasoned campers is the suggestion that “Before you fall asleep, it’s lovely to listen to the soothing sounds of the forest all around you.” And adult readers will have trouble containing their laughter when the book says, “In the morning, you’ll awake refreshed….” The final spread of “camping” in the backyard will soothe wee ones nervous about the wilds of nature. While the pictures are tongue-in-cheek funny, some are difficult to make out due to the flat colors and the hugeness of the dinos—they often exceed the size of the page. Still, this is certain to raise more than a few giggles from the camping enthusiasts in any audience.

What adventure’s next? (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 22, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-670-78573-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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Nice enough, but its twinkle is on the faint side.

TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE KID

A boy gets an unusual payoff after wishing on a star.

Sitting outside one night, Clyde notices a lone star in the sky. He recites the “Star light, star bright” incantation and makes a wish. Disappointed when it doesn’t come true, he returns home. But later, while he’s asleep, the star he’d wished on sneaks into his bedroom and makes a wish on him! Startled awake, Clyde wonders how to grant Star’s wish. He shares some ideas (and actual objects) with her: a game of checkers, tent camping, tossing a Frisbee, and walkie-talkies. Star likes them, but they’re not her wishes; Clyde confides there’s no one to enjoy them with—and wonders if perhaps Star had wished for a friend. No one will be surprised at what Clyde next confesses to Star. The pair winds up playing together and becoming besties. This is a sweet but thin and predictable story about making friends. Still, readers will appreciate meeting feisty, celestial Star. The author reaches for humor using colloquialisms (“freaked out”), and kids will like the comfortable familiarity that develops between the cheery protagonists. The colored-pencil illustrations are rendered in a limited palette of mostly dark blues and purples, appropriate to the nighttime setting. Star is a luminous, pale yellow with a white topknot and has a star-dappled aura around her. Purple-pj’d Clyde wears bunny slippers and presents White. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough, but its twinkle is on the faint side. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-399-17132-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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An expertly crafted, soulful, and humorous work that tenderly explores identity, culture, and the bond between father and...

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THUNDER BOY JR.

Thunder Boy Smith Jr. hates his name.

The Native American boy is named after his father, whose nickname is Big Thunder. Thunder Boy Jr. says his nickname, Little Thunder, makes him "sound like a burp or a fart." Little Thunder loves his dad, but he longs for a name that celebrates something special about him alone. He muses, “I love playing in the dirt, so maybe my name should be Mud in His Ears.…I love powwow dancing. I’m a grass dancer. So maybe my name should be Drums, Drums, and More Drums!” Little Thunder wonders how he can express these feelings to his towering father. However, he need not worry. Big Thunder knows that the time has come for his son to receive a new name, one as vibrant as his blossoming personality. Morales’ animated mixed-media illustrations, reminiscent of her Pura Belpré Award–winning work in Niño Wrestles the World (2013), masterfully use color and perspective to help readers see the world from Little Thunder’s point of view. His admiration of his dad is manifest in depictions of Big Thunder as a gentle giant of a man. The otherwise-muted palette bursts with color as Thunder Boy Jr. proudly enumerates the unique qualities and experiences that could inspire his new name.

An expertly crafted, soulful, and humorous work that tenderly explores identity, culture, and the bond between father and son. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-316-01372-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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