Preschool talkers aren’t likely to take the lesson to heart, but their caregivers will certainly find this chuckleworthy.

WORDY BIRDY

To say that this bird is wordy is an understatement; the motor mouth talks so much that she doesn’t listen, even when it’s in her best interests.

The talking starts first thing in the morning, with Wordy Birdy saying hello to each color in the sky at sunrise and to her own reflection in the mirror, but it doesn’t stop there. The loquacious bird talks about things she likes, things she dislikes, things she’s curious about, what she sees, facts she knows, and sometimes stories she embellishes a bit (“This one time, I totally went swimming with a narwhal”). Her friends are all disgruntled expressions and raised eyebrows, but they are loyal nonetheless (readers may not see why, though, as the self-centered bird is not at all likable). When her ceaseless yammering lands Wordy Birdy in danger, they come to her rescue…and even bring about a modest change in her behavior. Friends Squirrel, Rabbit, and Raccoon are the real stars here. Their droll expressions and unsurprised reactions to Wordy Birdy’s indifference to their warnings are laugh-out-loud funny, especially to adults who may be reading this aloud and recognize some familiar behavior. Mottram’s seemingly digital illustrations have an Over the Hedge aesthetic, and the dialogue balloons that crowd the spreads emphasize just how much talking Wordy Birdy does.

Preschool talkers aren’t likely to take the lesson to heart, but their caregivers will certainly find this chuckleworthy. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-1929-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Oct. 30, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2017

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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 terrific choice for the preschool crowd.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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TIME FOR SCHOOL, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Little Blue Truck learns that he can be as important as the big yellow school bus.

Little Blue Truck is driving along the country road early one morning when he and driver friend Toad come across a big, yellow, shiny school bus. The school bus is friendly, and so are her animal passengers, but when Little Blue Truck wishes aloud he could do an important job like hers, the school bus says only a bus of her size and features can do this job. Little Blue Truck continues along, a bit envious, and finds Piggy crying by the side of the road, having missed the bus. Little Blue tells Piggy to climb in and takes a creative path to the school—one the bus couldn’t navigate—and with an adventurous spirit, gets Piggy there right on time. The simple, rhyming text opens the story with a sweet, fresh, old-fashioned tone and continues with effortlessly rhythmical lines throughout. Little Blue is a brave, helpful, and hopeful character young readers will root for. Adults will feel a rush of nostalgia and delight in sharing this story with children as the animated vehicles and animals in innocent, colorful countryside scenes evoke wholesome character traits and values of growth, grit, and self-acceptance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A terrific choice for the preschool crowd. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 29, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-41224-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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