The illustrations alone will keep readers occupied for hours.

BUNNIES ON THE BUS

Mayhem ensues when bunnies board the bus.

Don’t be fooled by the tranquil-seeming town in the opening scene; look closely and you’ll spy bunny ears. And on the title and copyright spread that follows, those bunnies sneakily take over the city bus behind the back of the regular driver, an elephant. The bunny behind the wheel seems to take the “Am I driving well?” sign on the rear of the bus as a personal challenge. (The answer is no, as many would-be bus riders and pedestrians can attest.) Repetitive phrasing in the rhyming verses adds to the frenzied atmosphere that quickly ensues, the author’s British origins evident in some of the word choices: “Pandas at the crossing! / Pandas at the crossing! / Their shopping jumping in the air, / spinning and a-tossing.” (This likely also accounts for the rhyming of “again” with “train.”) But Mantle’s busy and very funny illustrations will ease any potential confusion among American readers. Children can follow a pig letter carrier, a parent and child sheep going about town, a bear in a bow tie gathering gifts for and then dining with a sweetheart, a pair of masked red-squirrel bandits who are making their getaway after robbing a bank, and many other characters, not to mention the antics of those bunnies on the bus. The ending hints at a possible sequel as the bunnies disembark in favor of a train.

The illustrations alone will keep readers occupied for hours. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1116-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.”

NOODLE AND THE NO BONES DAY

Graziano tells the story of his TikTok-famous pug, Noodle.

Noodle is a silly, stubborn old pug who likes walks and snacks. “He’s a pug who knows what he wants.” Jonathan, his light-skinned owner, loves taking Noodle for walks and sharing snacks—they are a perfect pair. But one day, when it’s time for a walk, Noodle just lies in his dog bed. Even when Jonathan tries to make Noodle sit up, Noodle flops back down. “It’s like he doesn’t have bones!” says Jonathan. Noodle doesn’t seem sick—he just wants snacks and to stay in bed. Finally, Jonathan asks if Noodle would just like to snuggle instead and receives a strong affirmative from the drowsy pug. Together Noodle and his human enjoy a relaxing “no bones day” and learn an important lesson about rest and why it matters for silly, stubborn old pugs and for the humans who love them, too. Many may already be familiar with Noodle through his TikTok videos (if Noodle remains standing when Graziano lifts him, it’s a “bones day”; among Noodle’s followers, a “no bones day” has come to mean a day for self-care and taking it easy). However, this story stands alone and will likely create new fans for a long time to come. Hand-drawn and painted digitally, Tavis’ illustrations rely on a muted palette and rounded images, depicting an appropriately cozy world. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.” (author's note) (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66592-710-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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Though Jim may have been grumpy because a chimp’s an ape and not a monkey, readers will enjoy and maybe learn from his...

GRUMPY MONKEY

It’s a wonderful day in the jungle, so why’s Jim Panzee so grumpy?

When Jim woke up, nothing was right: "The sun was too bright, the sky was too blue, and bananas were too sweet." Norman the gorilla asks Jim why he’s so grumpy, and Jim insists he’s not. They meet Marabou, to whom Norman confides that Jim’s grumpy. When Jim denies it again, Marabou points out that Jim’s shoulders are hunched; Jim stands up. When they meet Lemur, Lemur points out Jim’s bunchy eyebrows; Jim unbunches them. When he trips over Snake, Snake points out Jim’s frown…so Jim puts on a grimacelike smile. Everyone has suggestions to brighten his mood: dancing, singing, swinging, swimming…but Jim doesn’t feel like any of that. He gets so fed up, he yells at his animal friends and stomps off…then he feels sad about yelling. He and Norman (who regrets dancing with that porcupine) finally just have a sit and decide it’s a wonderful day to be grumpy—which, of course, makes them both feel a little better. Suzanne Lang’s encouragement to sit with your emotions (thus allowing them to pass) is nearly Buddhist in its take, and it will be great bibliotherapy for the crabby, cranky, and cross. Oscar-nominated animator Max Lang’s cartoony illustrations lighten the mood without making light of Jim’s mood; Jim has comically long arms, and his facial expressions are quite funny.

Though Jim may have been grumpy because a chimp’s an ape and not a monkey, readers will enjoy and maybe learn from his journey. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-553-53786-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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