THE YEAR OF THE DOG

Daniel the puppy learns when to be brave in this bilingual, Chinese zodiac–inspired parable.

When Papa dog tells Daniel that he must look after his human friend Lin, Daniel eagerly promises to protect her. Having been warned of fantastical creatures they might encounter—the “fiery Phoenix,” the “sly dragon,” and the “ferocious tiger”—Daniel becomes perhaps a little too eager. He barks ferociously at a rooster and then a rat, unnecessarily rousing Lin and prompting warnings from Mama and Papa to be more careful. When Lin actually faces real danger, will Daniel recognize it and still be brave? Will readers be sufficiently invested to care? The text of this formulaic story simultaneously drags and elides: both the Chinese and English prose are stilted and wordy, while essential characters such as Lin remain unappealing and thin. The digital art, perhaps more suited to animated film than a picture book, adds a commercial feeling, providing neither the weight nor the depth already lacking in the story. Ideally, this book would offer a mirror to young readers familiar with the Chinese zodiac and a window to those who are not. Lin is ethnically ambiguous, with light brown eyes and dark hair, and the book forgoes any context, including only a brief description of characteristics associated with people born in the Year of the Dog. This edition has been updated with the inclusion of a translation into simplified Chinese.

Let this puppy pass. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-59702-136-4

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Immedium

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.

WHY A DAUGHTER NEEDS A MOM

All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

Sweet, reassuring fun—and a story to fully embrace.

SLUG IN LOVE

A slug longs for a hug and finds it unexpectedly.

Doug the slug would really like a hug and plods on, seeking affection. But a caterpillar, bug, spider, and worm want no part of hugging a slug. They are just not feeling it (might they feel sluggish?), voicing their disdain in no uncertain terms with expressions like, “Grimy, slippy!” and “Squelchy, slimy!” What’s a slug to do? Undeterred, Doug keeps trying. He meets Gail, a snail with crimson lipstick and hip, red glasses; she happens to be as grimy and squelchy as he is, so he figures she is the hugger of his dreams. The two embark upon a madcap romantic courtship. Alas, Gail also draws the (slimy) line at hugging Doug. Finally, mournful Doug meets the best hugger and the true love of his life, proving there’s someone for everyone. This charmer will have readers rooting for Doug (and perhaps even wanting to hug him). Expressed in simple, jaunty verses that read and scan smoothly, the brief tale revolves around words that mainly rhyme with Doug and slug. Given that the story stretches vocabulary so well with regard to rhyming words, children can be challenged after a read-aloud session to offer up words that rhyme with slug and snail. The colorful and humorous illustrations are lively and cheerful; googly-eyed Doug is, like the other characters, entertaining and expressive. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sweet, reassuring fun—and a story to fully embrace. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-66590-046-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more