Going to school doesn’t mean leaving childhood behind; stuffed lovies have a place still.

BEAR'S BIG DAY

Bear may be big enough for school, but that doesn’t mean he has to do everything by himself now.

Bear is excited and proud to be going to school for the first time. He has a big-bear backpack with pockets for each of his school supplies: his lunchbox, glue, pencil case, and crayons. But there’s no place for Floppy, his stuffed bunny. Readers with their own beloved stuffies will intuitively sense what the story’s problem will be from Bear’s sad glance back at Floppy, who is sitting propped up on Bear’s windowsill. Sure enough, “something—or someone—was missing,” and Bear doesn’t color or eat snack or nap with his classmates. Miss Fox notices and asks what the matter is. Bear figures he’s just not ready for school yet, but she tells him that “even big teachers need help sometimes.” Together, they use craft supplies to fashion a pocket for Floppy, and Bear enjoys the second day doing big-bear things with Floppy securely in his backpack (alongside the stuffed pals of Bear’s classmates). Yoon’s digital illustrations use bold black lines, simple shapes, and bright colors to focus attention on the characters, and Bear’s feelings are evident. His classmates include a lamb, a moose, and a panda (who eats snack with chopsticks).

Going to school doesn’t mean leaving childhood behind; stuffed lovies have a place still. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8027-3832-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way.

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THE PIGEON HAS TO GO TO SCHOOL!

From the Pigeon series

All the typical worries and excuses kids have about school are filtered through Willems’ hysterical, bus-loving Pigeon.

Told mostly in speech balloons, the bird’s monologue will have kids (and their caregivers) in stitches at Pigeon’s excuses. From already knowing everything (except whatever question readers choose to provide in response to “Go ahead—ask me a question. / Any question!”) to fearing learning too much (“My head might pop off”), Pigeon’s imagination has run wild. Readers familiar with Pigeon will recognize the muted, matte backgrounds that show off the bird’s shenanigans so well. As in previous outings, Willems varies the size of the pigeon on the page to help communicate emotion, the bird teeny small on the double-page spread that illustrates the confession that “I’m… / scared.” And Pigeon’s eight-box rant about all the perils of school (“The unknown stresses me out, dude”) is marvelously followed by the realization (complete with lightbulb thought bubble) that school is the place for students to practice, with experts, all those skills they don’t yet have. But it is the ending that is so Willems, so Pigeon, and so perfect. Pigeon’s last question is “Well, HOW am I supposed to get there, anyway!?!” Readers will readily guess both the answer and Pigeon’s reaction.

Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-04645-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

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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