Eric Hill, the creator of the beloved Spot, has died at age 86. His first Spot book, Where’s Spot, was published in 1980 and incorporated a lift-the-flap feature that continued in the Spot books.
You can visit the official Spot website for more information on the series.
Pigsticks and Harold and the Incredible Journey by Alex Milway
Pigsticks hasn’t done anything with his life yet, unlike his very distinguished ancestors. So he decides that he will travel to the Ends of the Earth but unlike his forepig, he will make it back alive. Pigsticks quickly realizes that he will need an assistant, someone to carry all of his gear and cook. Everyone in town came for an interview, but Pigsticks could not find the right person for the job. That is until Harold the hamster showed up with a misdelivered package. Harold wasn’t sure he wanted to be Harold’s assistant, but after much negotiation involving how many cakes would be brought on the journey (three of them) Harold agreed. The two set off the next day, fording rivers, marching through jungles, crossing frail bridges across deep ravines, and then entering a vast desert before climbing an immense snowy mountain. It’s a journey filled with mishaps and perils, most of which befall Harold, on their way to the elusive Ends of the Earth.
Milway has created a very clever early reader that will have new readers giggling right along. Pigsticks is a wonderfully inattentive character, never noticing the various perils that Harold is facing along the way. One might think be would come off very negatively, but he actually is a likeable character throughout, just a little self-absorbed. Harold on the other hand is the voice of sanity on the trip, the one who sees danger ahead, but also the one doomed to not be listened to. Their odd relationship works well in this book, creating very funny moments with just the right tone and humor for the age group.
Milway’s art is clever and cartoony. He uses the art to fill in much of the story and provides art throughout at just the right amount to make the book appealing to new readers who are daunted by full-text pages. The art adds to the zany humor of the text and further builds the dynamic between the two characters.
Funny, clever and cake-filled, this quest to the Ends of the Earth is sure to “end” up as a new reader favorite. Appropriate for ages 5-7.
Reviewed from digital copy received from Candlewick Press and NetGalley.
Some great additions to series!
Dinnertime for Chickies by Janee Trasler is the third in the Chickies series. Here the very picky chicks are reluctant to try new foods, asking for sweets instead. But Sheep, Cow and Pig cajole them into trying the foods and the chicks discover that they like them! By the end of the meal, they might just be too full for dessert. This is a funny addition to the series that will encourage small children to try new things.
I Am So Brave by Stephen Krensky, illustrated by Sara Gillingham is the fourth book in their empowerment series. This book focuses on overcoming fears like dogs, swimming, the dark and even saying goodbye to a parent. Told very simply, the book is about the joy of overcoming rather than the process of doing so. Still, it will encourage children to face their fears.
Planes Go by Steve Light is the fourth book in its series which has previously covered trucks, trains and diggers. This plane book is very successful, focusing on different types of planes and then the sounds that they make. It’s the kind of book that small children will love to read to themselves aloud after they learn the names of the planes. A lovely addition to a great series.