Slight and self-referential, this is not one of Penguin’s more memorable adventures.

PENGUIN'S BIG ADVENTURE

Another adventure starring Yoon’s small penguin with the big orange scarf (Penguin and Pumpkin, 2014, etc.).

Penguin wants to be the first penguin to set foot on the otherwise penguinless North Pole. Slinging on his backpack, he heads north. On the way, he passes several friends making things that gain greater significance later in the book: a large colorful quilt, a big basket, and a very long rope. He bypasses them all, intent on his quest. When he finally gets to the North Pole, he finds there are no other penguins, only a cute polar bear cub with whom he shares some adventures riding on a whale, building ice forts, and exploring the Arctic Sea. The purpose of the earlier activities of his penguin friends becomes apparent when they swoop down in a stylish hot air balloon and carry him back to their Antarctic home. Yoon’s bold, black-outlined, vividly colored illustrations compensate somewhat for the weak, unimaginative storyline. This lack of depth is due in part to the fact that some key details can only be understood with knowledge of previous books in the series. Readers who don’t know that Penguin is an avid knitter or that he made friends with a pine cone and a crab in previous outings will be mystified by these references, since their appearances in this story do not support the plot.

Slight and self-referential, this is not one of Penguin’s more memorable adventures. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8027-3828-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

more