Thursday, March 10

Sizing-Up Sequels: 3 Picture Books

So I guess picture books don't really have "sequels" so much as series continuations or companion books, but you get the idea. See other sequels sized-up here.

I Love You Already!
Written by Jory John, illustrated by Benji Davies

My rating: ★★★½

ISBN: 978-0062370952
Publisher: HarperCollins
Date of publication: December 22, 2015
Age: 4 - 8 years

Themes: friendship, love, bears, ducks, humor

Bear can't wait to spend a pleasant day by himself. His persistent next-door neighbor, Duck, wants to take a morning stroll...with Bear. He just wants Bear to like him already!

I didn't actually review the first one, just suggested it for a storytime. Probably because I wasn't all that impressed. The books are an awkward humor (it is Jory John after all). But this one was actually better! Probably because it's a little bit sweeter portrayal of friendship, as opposed to the annoying portrayal in Goodnight Already.

Find it at your library or on Amazon

Here Comes Valentine Cat
Written by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Claudia Rueda

My rating: ★★★★

ISBN: 978-0525429159
Publisher: Dial Books
Date of publication: December 22, 2015
Age: 3 - 5 years

Themes: Valentine's Day, friendship, cats, dogs, understanding, humor

Cat does NOT like Valentine's Day. It's much too mushy, and no way is he making anyone a valentine—especially not his new neighbor, Dog. Dog refuses to respect the fence: He keeps tossing over old bones and hitting Cat in the head! But just as Cat’s about to send Dog an angry "valentine" telling him exactly what he can do with his bones, Dog throws a ball over the fence. What is Dog playing at? Cat is in for a hilarious—and heartwarming—surprise in this story about being perhaps too quick to judge.

Oh Cat, he's just too funny. Definitely enjoyed Santa Cat and recommended Easter Cat for storytime. Tooth Fairy Cat didn't get reviewed here, because it did get a little weird at that point, but made sense for the series--the cat subbing in for make-believe characters. In this case, I'm glad Underwood dropped character substitution and just went with a holiday book. This was very well done because, of course, grouchy old Cat is perfect for Valentines! All sorts of readers will relate and laugh at this one.

Find it at your library or on Amazon

Dojo Daytrip
Written and illustrated by Chris Tougas

My rating: ★★★

ISBN: 978-1771471428
Publisher: Owlkids
Date of publication: September 15, 2015
Age: 3 - 7 years

Themes: ninjas, farms, field trip, responsibility, respect

Farm activities like feeding a pig, milking a cow, and plowing a field dissolve into chaos as the master slips into the slop trough, is chased by a bull, and then is dragged through the hay. YIKES! YEE-OW! It’s a barnyard disaster. Meanwhile, the mischievous ninjas run rampant, setting chicks free and splitting fences, until they remember to shape up and honor their creed: Always help someone in need.

I didn't particularly love the first one and this one felt just about the same. Again, impressive rhyming scheme, but otherwise flat. Although I was a tad confused about why ninjas would visit a farm, but hey! That's picture books for you.

Find it at your library or on Amazon

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