Biscuit and Friends: A Day at the Aquarium

HarperCollins. Jun. 2023. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062910073; pap. $5.99. ISBN 9780062910066.
K-Gr 2–A beloved literary character embarks on a new early reader adventure. Biscuit the dog is left behind for the day while his caregiver, a little girl, goes on a school trip to the aquarium. His desire to follow her leads him on a brief foray through the neighborhood until he reaches the aquarium and reconnects with the child on her tour. Biscuit engages with sea turtles, sharks, and jellyfish before finding his barking ocean counterparts, the seals and sea lions, and helping their trainer keep them entertained. Young readers will find plenty of repetition, as Biscuit says, woof woof on most pages, and some challenging new vocabulary, including aquarium, jellyfish, and trainer. Biscuit is as sweet and likable as ever, and the colorful illustrations by Berlin (in the style of the originals by Pat Schories), of characters and ocean life will catch and keep young readers’ attention. The story’s simplicity is appropriate for an early reader format, but not particularly realistic: A dog could walk from a home to an aquarium? Accompany a school group through an aquarium tour? The illustrations include a Black child and an Asian child; all other human characters are white.
VERDICT Children will enjoy Biscuit’s traditional exploits while practicing their developing reading skills.

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