A sweet trilogy conclusion.


From the Uni the Unicorn series

In this third volume, Uni finally gets to visit their little-girl pal where she lives and meet her friends and family.

Sliding in on a double rainbow (the one, of course, that connects Here and There), Uni is excited to visit the Real World for the first time. But when the unnamed little girl introduces Uni to her parents, they don’t see Uni at all. The little tot’s entire body droops in disappointment. The duo then races to the park to find the little girl’s friends. Surely they will want to see a unicorn! But they don’t see Uni either. This time, it is Uni’s turn to sadly droop. Suddenly, light hits Uni’s horn, and a rainbow appears. A glint of believing grows in a little boy, and he can see Uni! The thrum of magic and sparkle is there in both the text and art, but the ending feels slapdash and arbitrary: “The power of believing spread across the Real World, making it a bright and joyful place where everyone…was welcome.” Regardless, the full-circle moment is satisfying, completing the arc begun by author Rosenthal’s late mother, Amy Krouse Rosenthal, in Uni the Unicorn (2014) and Uni the Unicorn and the Dream Come True (2017). Uni and the little girl have now seen each other’s homes and made both better through their friendship. The little girl and her family present White; her friends are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A sweet trilogy conclusion. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 30, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-30680-2

Page Count: 42

Publisher: Random House Studio

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2021

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A wandering effort, happy but pointless.


From the Dragons Love Tacos series

The perfect book for kids who love dragons and mild tacos.

Rubin’s story starts with an incantatory edge: “Hey, kid! Did you know that dragons love tacos? They love beef tacos and chicken tacos. They love really big gigantic tacos and tiny little baby tacos as well.” The playing field is set: dragons, tacos. As a pairing, they are fairly silly, and when the kicker comes in—that dragons hate spicy salsa, which ignites their inner fireworks—the silliness is sillier still. Second nature, after all, is for dragons to blow flames out their noses. So when the kid throws a taco party for the dragons, it seems a weak device that the clearly labeled “totally mild” salsa comes with spicy jalapenos in the fine print, prompting the dragons to burn down the house, resulting in a barn-raising at which more tacos are served. Harmless, but if there is a parable hidden in the dragon-taco tale, it is hidden in the unlit deep, and as a measure of lunacy, bridled or unbridled, it doesn’t make the leap into the outer reaches of imagination. Salmieri’s artwork is fitting, with a crabbed, ethereal line work reminiscent of Peter Sís, but the story does not offer it enough range.

A wandering effort, happy but pointless. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3680-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.


Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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