This story revolves around poop while avoiding gross-out humor—and, perhaps, readers’ comprehension.

SLOTH WENT

A young sloth successfully makes it.

Young Sloth has a lot of potty-training anxiety. His mom reassures him; an enthusiastic frog tells him “Just listen to your body and it will all work out”; and a friendly butterfly reminds him that even if he doesn’t succeed, it’s OK—“As long as you keep trying.” He slowly descends his tree, scurries to a special pooping spot (comically marked with an X), goes, and makes it back home in one piece. There’s no mention of bodily functions in the text, just a lot of sly references to taking “care of business” or how “it” will “come out fine.” The only clue prior to the author’s note is the tagline on the cover: “sometimes a little poop can be a big adventure.” The engaging backmatter explains more about sloth biology and lifestyle habits, clearing up any lingering questions about the protagonist’s motivations and actions. The constipated hero is extremely endearing, with a personality-filled stub of a tail and an endlessly expressive face, but the story risks young children missing the point, with no direct references to sloth’s predicament; even the final payoff is buried before readers can get a glimpse of his hard work! Sadly, adult sensibilities seem to be privileged over kids’ age-appropriate fascination with all things bathroom.

This story revolves around poop while avoiding gross-out humor—and, perhaps, readers’ comprehension. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0245-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Uplifting and inspiring of further research.

SEÑORITA MARIPOSA

A bilingual love poem of admiration and respect for the millions of monarch butterflies that journey south to Mexico every year.

From a chrysalis on the title page, Señorita Mariposa invites readers to follow the monarch butterfly as it embarks on a journey spanning thousands of miles, “Over mountains capped with snow… / To the deserts down below.” In the same manner, the monarch butterfly exiting the chrysalis at the end of the book then invites readers to flip back to the beginning and restart the journey. Almada Rivero’s warm and friendly illustrations showcase the various people and animals the monarch encounters in its 3,000-mile journey, including a couple of brown-skinned children who welcome Señorita Mariposa to Mexico as the text reads, “Can’t believe how far you’ve come.” Gundersheimer’s recounting of the lepidoptera’s journey is told in a bilingual poem, English set in a serif type and Spanish set in sans-serif. Like the butterfly traveling south and north, the languages switch prominence, displaying in the larger font the principal—and rhyming—language in each spread. Although at times distracting, this technique is a valiant attempt to give equal importance to each language. Backmatter includes facts on the round trip the butterflies undertake, the “super generation” that makes the trek south, and a call to action to protect the monarchs as they slowly lose their habitats.

Uplifting and inspiring of further research. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4070-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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A cozy read for bibliophiles.

SNOWMAN'S STORY

With echoes of “Frosty the Snowman” in the background, a snowman’s storybook within this wordless book delivers a comic wintertime romp.

Woodland creatures build a snowman, giving him a green book as a finishing touch. This addition comes right after a windswept top hat lands on his head, vivifying him à la Frosty. Hidden inside is a rabbit (it is a magic hat, after all); attentive readers will have seen the hat first on frontmatter pages and then with the bunny in the double-page spreads before the early ones devoted to the snowman’s construction. The snowman reads his book aloud to the animals, with the rabbit surreptitiously listening in, its ears poking out of the top of the hat. When the others all drift off to sleep, the bunny emerges and steals away with the book. A chase ensues across snowy terrain and through a series of pages (perhaps a few too many for good pacing) replete with comic-style panels. When the animals and snowman confront the rabbit in its tree-hollow home, its motivation for book thievery is revealed: This bunny has a family and wishes to share the story with its children. All’s well that ends well, and the animals convene (safely outside and away from the rabbit family’s crackling fireplace) to read together.

A cozy read for bibliophiles. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4787-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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