Anxious children angered by the competing demands raised by a newborn may well relate.

AND THEN...

It’s her party, but no one is paying attention to the birthday girl.

All the adults (depicted with light but varying skin tones) are focused on her baby brother instead. She’s a creative girl who demands to be heard: she illustrates and tells a story, even uses her birthday wish to express her displeasure. Mom and Dad shrink and are chased by a gigantic bee under a cupboard while her brother, whom she compares to a squid, cry, cry, cries. Sparse cartoon art on a white background allows for the printed text, like the convoluted story, to wind and spin. With each page-turning “AND THEN…,” art and type become intertwined as the baby’s wails, waving arms, and smells, represented as tentacles in impossible-to-ignore red, literally overwhelm the story. At this point shocked readers will see that the baby is a gigantic red squid. This is one hugely needy squid, so hungry only Mom and Dad can help. Luckily, in a feel-good ending, the girl can solve the problem with another birthday wish—and possibly another story. Some adults may protest the depiction of an infant in such a frightening manner, but this is not their story.

Anxious children angered by the competing demands raised by a newborn may well relate. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-84643-696-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2016

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Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here.

ONE LOVE

A sugary poem, very loosely based on the familiar song, lacks focus.

Using only the refrain from the original (“One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel all right!”), the reggae great’s daughter Cedella Marley sees this song as her “happy song” and adapts it for children. However, the adaptation robs it of life. After the opening lines, readers familiar with the original song (or the tourism advertisement for Jamaica) will be humming along only to be stopped by the bland lines that follow: “One love, what the flower gives the bee.” and then “One love, what Mother Earth gives the tree.” Brantley-Newton’s sunny illustrations perfectly reflect the saccharine quality of the text. Starting at the beginning of the day, readers see a little girl first in bed, under a photograph of Bob Marley, the sun streaming into her room, a bird at the window. Each spread is completely redundant—when the text is about family love, the illustration actually shows little hearts floating from her parents to the little girl. An image of a diverse group getting ready to plant a community garden, walking on top of a river accompanies the words “One love, like the river runs to the sea.”

Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here. (afterword) (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0224-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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THE GRUFFALO

The action of this rhymed and humorous tale centers upon a mouse who "took a stroll/through the deep dark wood./A fox saw the mouse/and the mouse looked good." The mouse escapes being eaten by telling the fox that he is on his way to meet his friend the gruffalo (a monster of his imagination), whose favorite food is roasted fox. The fox beats a hasty retreat. Similar escapes are in store for an owl and a snake; both hightail it when they learn the particulars: tusks, claws, terrible jaws, eyes orange, tongue black, purple prickles on its back. When the gruffalo suddenly materializes out of the mouse's head and into the forest, the mouse has to think quick, declaring himself inedible as the "scariest creature in the deep dark wood," and inviting the gruffalo to follow him to witness the effect he has on the other creatures. When the gruffalo hears that the mouse's favorite food is gruffalo crumble, he runs away. It's a fairly innocuous tale, with twists that aren't sharp enough and treachery that has no punch. Scheffler's funny scenes prevent the suspense from culminating; all his creatures, predator and prey, are downright lovable. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8037-2386-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1999

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