teaches her tricks (high-fiving nearly results in an accidental
squashing), and keeps her safe from things like large bones:
“She could choke. (And besides, they might belong to a relative
of hers.)” Larger-than-life fun for animal- and dinosaur-loving
kids. Ages 3–7. (Feb.)
Books for Me!
Sue Fliess, illus. by Mike Laughead. Amazon/Two Lions, $14.99 (28p)
The exuberant hippo from Shoes for Me! and A Dress for Me!
reveals that her interests extend beyond fashion as she delivers a
rousing tribute to the many types of books available at the
library. “Books on jungles, lion kings,/
monsters, creatures, wild things,” reads
Fliess’s unflaggingly upbeat verse as
Laughead shows a Sendakian monster
peering out from a book, one of several
literary references in his vivid mixed-
media artwork. While the story doesn’t
stand out from other similarly themed titles, it’s an effective bit
of literary cheerleading. Ages 3–8. Author’s agent: Jennifer Unter,
Unter Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Justin Rucker, Shannon Associates.
Mustache Baby Meets His Match
Bridget Heos, illus. by Joy Ang. Clarion, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-544-
Billy, a toddler with an enviable mustache, is used to ruling
the roost. So when Baby Javier shows up with a full beard, com-
petitiveness leads to Wild West–worthy
dueling: “Billy had never seen such grit.
Except when he was looking in the mirror.
He intended to prove that he was the true
hero, and Javier was just his sidekick.” As
in Mustache Baby, Heos and Ang are in per-
fect comedic sync, and the story’s hyper-
bolic twists will keep kids and their parents thoroughly enter-
tained. Ages 4–8. Agent: Kelly Sonnack, Andrea Brown Literary
The Birthday Cake
Sven Nordqvist, trans. from the Swedish by Tara Chace. NorthSouth
(IPS, dist.), $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7358-4203-8
The Adventures of Pettson and Findus series continues with
this second tale, originally published in 1985, which demonstrates why Pettson’s neighbors wonder if he might be “crazy.”
His efforts to make a cake for his cat Findus’s birthday (“Findus
had three birthdays a year just because it was more fun that
way”) turn into a wild goose chase involving missing flour, a
flat bicycle tire, lost keys, a gramophone, and an angry bull.
Nordqvist’s illustrations are packed with inviting detail, and
Pettson and Findus’s testy but tender relationship is as enjoy-
able as the broad, goofy humor that runs through the story.
Ages 4–8. (Feb.)
Click, Clack, Peep!
Doreen Cronin, illus. by Betsy Lewin. S&S/Atheneum, $17.99 (40p)
After a lively baby duck is born on the farm, the animals from
Click, Clack, Moo and its sequels try to turn its “peep peep peep”
into “peep peep... sleep” at bedtime. Lewin’s always expressive
watercolors show sleep-deprived hens and sheep rocking the
duckling to sleep and knitting it a blanket, but it’s Duck who
arrives at a solution that will be familiar to parents who have
reached for their car keys in order to lull a restless baby to sleep.
A sweet-natured addition to the series, and one that will leave
readers giggling, thanks to a great closing gag. Ages 4–8.
Agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (Feb.)
★ Max’s Math
Kate Banks, illus. by Boris Kulikov. FSG/Foster, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-
Although mathematics is front and center in this follow-up
to Max’s Words and Max’s Castle, the clever wordplay of the pre-
vious books remains on display as Max
and his brothers set off “looking for prob-
lems” to solve. Their journey takes them
to Shapeville, where Max shows storm-
battered residents how to create a new
town square from two triangles. From
there, they soar to the stars and back, visit
Count Town, and witness a rocket launch before heading home
to bed (but not before counting sheep, of course). Kulikov’s
visual flights of fancy will set readers’ imaginations soaring as
Banks slyly introduces a bevy of math concepts. Ages 4–8.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to School...
Davide Cali, illus. by Benjamin Chaud. Chronicle, $12.99 (44p) ISBN
The scruffy-suited, shaggy-haired boy from I Didn’t Do My
Homework Because... is back, and he has more excuses ready for
his teacher, this time regarding why he’s
late for school. His circuitous, belief-
defying story involves being attacked by
ninjas (their wild gestures make them
resemble Matisse dancers), being
abducted by mole people, wandering in
and out of a few fairy tales, and tooling
around in the president’s private jet. His
remarkably patient teacher takes this all
in stride, but Cali and Chaud give the boy (and readers) the last
laugh, proving the adage that truth can be stranger than fic-
tion. Ages 6–9. (Mar.)