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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Making friends isn’t always this easy and convenient.

BUDDY'S NEW BUDDY

From the Growing With Buddy series , Vol. 3

How do you make a new friend when an old one moves away?

Buddy (from Sorry, Grown-Ups, You Can’t Go to School, 2019, etc.) is feeling lonely. His best friend just moved across town. To make matters worse, there is a field trip coming up, and Buddy needs a bus partner. His sister, Lady, has some helpful advice for making a new pal: “You just need to find something you have in common.” Buddy loves the game Robo Chargers and karate. Surely there is someone else who does, too! Unfortunately, there isn’t. However, when a new student arrives (one day later) and asks everyone to call her Sunny instead of Alison, Buddy gets excited. No one uses his given name, either; they just call him Buddy. He secretly whispers his “real, official name” to Sunny at lunch—an indication that a true friendship is being formed. The rest of the story plods merrily along, all pieces falling exactly into place (she even likes Robo Chargers!), accompanied by Bowers’ digital art, a mix of spot art and full-bleed illustrations. Friendship-building can be an emotionally charged event in a child’s life—young readers will certainly see themselves in Buddy’s plight—but, alas, there is not much storytelling magic to be found. Buddy and his family are White, Sunny and Mr. Teacher are Black, and Buddy’s other classmates are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Making friends isn’t always this easy and convenient. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-30709-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught...

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A PROBLEM?

A child struggles with the worry and anxiety that come with an unexpected problem.

In a wonderful balance of text and pictures, the team responsible for What Do You Do With an Idea (2014) returns with another book inspiring children to feel good about themselves. A child frets about a problem that won’t go away: “I wished it would just disappear. I tried everything I could to hide from it. I even found ways to disguise myself. But it still found me.” The spare, direct narrative is accompanied by soft gray illustrations in pencil and watercolor. The sepia-toned figure of the child is set apart from the background and surrounded by lots of white space, visually isolating the problem, which is depicted as a purple storm cloud looming overhead. Color is added bit by bit as the storm cloud grows and its color becomes more saturated. With a backpack and umbrella, the child tries to escape the problem while the storm swirls, awash with compass points scattered across the pages. The pages brighten into splashes of yellow as the child decides to tackle the problem head-on and finds that it holds promise for unlooked-for opportunity.

A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught situations, this belongs on the shelf alongside Molly Bang’s Sophie books. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-943-20000-9

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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