A story whose message of joie de vivre, especially in adverse situations, is worthwhile; however, it lacks the fresh...


Laid-back Joss and uptight Bob are back; this time the two white friends are on a hike in the woods.

Relaxed Joss and buttoned-up Bob are camping. Bob (pacing in a circle while Joss roasts marshmallows—an illustrative setup that clues readers in to their personality types right away) says camping is boring. Joss suggests a hike. The two set off and immediately get lost. Illustrator Vogel sticks to the obvious as he shows stressed-out Bob with lots of buzzing insects and bug bites while easygoing Joss communes with bluebirds and butterflies. The story follows the same thematic arc as the first book (Bob and Joss Get Lost, 2017): Bob worries and panics, and Joss points out the beauty around them and the opportunities for play, wonder, and appreciation. But this time around the story labors, exemplified by Joss’ worn chicken-soup-for-the-soul–like observations: “If we hadn’t gotten lost, we wouldn’t be here”; “The right one is the right one.” The hidden location-markers joke in this story is the elevation note tabs on the tops of the pages, but they don’t complete the story nearly as precisely or satisfyingly as the GPS coordinates in the first book.

A story whose message of joie de vivre, especially in adverse situations, is worthwhile; however, it lacks the fresh cleverness of the first book. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-241532-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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A handsome edition of an old favorite.


The familiar cumulative game is played by four children, along with their father and their dog, at the typically British beach pictured on the lovely, expansive first endpaper. 

The children's real activities are shown in b&w drawings; the imaginative doings appear in full color. Although some of the color pages show perfectly possible events, most are clearly fantasy, suggesting just how close the two may be in children's minds. The family ends up in safe retreat in one big cozy bed; the bear is seen--on the second essential, beautiful endpaper--headed into a gloomy sea. Oxenbury's splendid watercolors and drawings perfectly evoke both landscape and the members of the questing family. 

A handsome edition of an old favorite. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 1989

ISBN: 978-0-689-50476-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1989

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Sure to assuage the fears of all astronauts bound for similar missions.


A genius way to ease kids into the new adventure that is kindergarten.

In an imaginative ruse that’s maintained through the whole book, a young astronaut prepares for his mission to Planet Kindergarten. On liftoff day (a space shuttle–themed calendar counts down the days; a stopwatch, the minutes), the small family boards their rocket ship (depicted in the illustrations as the family car), and “the boosters fire.” They orbit base camp while looking for a docking place. “I am assigned to my commander, capsule, and crewmates.” Though he’s afraid, he stands tall and is brave (not just once, either—the escape hatch beckons, but NASA’s saying gets him through: “FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION”). Parents will certainly chuckle along with this one, but kindergarten teachers’ stomach muscles will ache: “[G]ravity works differently here. We have to try hard to stay in our seats. And our hands go up a lot.” Prigmore’s digital illustrations are the perfect complement to the tongue-in-cheek text. Bold colors, sharp lines and a retro-space style play up the theme. The intrepid explorer’s crewmates are a motley assortment of “aliens”—among them are a kid in a hoodie with the laces pulled so tight that only a nose and mouth are visible; a plump kid with a bluish cast to his skin; and a pinkish girl with a toothpick-thin neck and huge bug eyes.

Sure to assuage the fears of all astronauts bound for similar missions. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 20, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4521-1893-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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