Two of these picture book “sequels” feature old friends, two introduce a new friend into a familiar setting, and one keeps on truckin’ with a popular subject. All five will be eagerly greeted by their preschool fans.
Olivier Dunrea welcomes a new gosling to his series of books that began with Gossie and Gossie & Gertie. Gideon is a “small, ruddy gosling who likes to play. All day.” Play all day is right. “No nap! I’m playing!” says Gideon repeatedly, until all played out, he collapses in a tiny heap atop a haystack. Gideon & Otto introduces Gideon’s “favorite friend,” a stuffed-toy octopus. Constant companions, the two are briefly separated; their reunion is a sweet surprise. Dunrea’s pictures are as beguiling as ever — the art is filled with clever details kids will appreciate. (2–5 years)
In Faster! Faster!, the thrill-seeking heroine from Leslie Patricelli’s Higher! Higher! takes an imaginative joy ride. Riding on Daddy’s back, she commands, “Faster! Faster!” Turn the page, and the girl is now riding on the back of a dog. The next double-page spread shows a pooped pup and the girl speeding away on a rabbit. Exhausted rabbit (“pant pant”) is replaced by ostrich, ostrich is traded for horse, then cheetah, then hawk (all, tellingly, wearing Dad’s purple polka-dotted tie). The book’s playful design and richly colored cartoonlike acrylics speak directly to its young audience. (2–5 years)
“Swing the ball. Swing the ball. / Thump and smash and whack. / Bring the top floors tumbling down. / Bang! CLANG! CRACK!” As they did in Roadwork, author Sally Sutton and illustrator Brian Lovelock capture the excitement and energy of big trucks hard at work. Demolition follows a crew as it tears down an old building, sorts scraps of material, and hauls the debris off to make room for a new construction project. Sutton’s rhythmic text is full of onomatopoeia and muscular action words. Lovelock’s meticulous digital ink illustrations give the job site a suitably dusty patina and put the equipment and vehicles center stage, just where truck-obsessed kids want them. (3–6 years)
In The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? — Mo Willems’s first new Pigeon book in four years — the Duckling asks politely for a cookie and gets one. Enter the Pigeon. Shocked that the Duckling “got a cookie with nuts just by asking,” the Pigeon sets off on one of his egocentric tirades: “I ask for things ALL THE TIME!… But do I get what I ask for?” Kids will recognize the Pigeon’s strong emotions, but here they aren’t the ones out of control, which makes the gentle lesson in behavior as sweet as a cookie. Simple speech-balloon text, animated illustrations, and a clean design continue to be a successful formula for Willems’s brand of storytelling. (3–6 years)