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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PRINCESSES WEAR PANTS

This book wants to be feminist.

Princess Penelope Pineapple, illustrated as a white girl with dark hair and eyes, is the Amelia Bloomer of the Pineapple Kingdom. She has dresses, but she prefers to wear pants as she engages in myriad activities ranging from yoga to gardening, from piloting a plane to hosting a science fair. When it’s time for the Pineapple Ball, she imagines wearing a sparkly pants outfit, but she worries about Grand Lady Busyboots’ disapproval: “ ‘Pants have no place on a lady!’ she’d say. / ‘That’s how it has been, and that’s how it shall stay.’ ” In a moment of seeming dissonance between the text and art, Penny seems to resolve to wear pants, but then she shows up to the ball in a gown. This apparent contradiction is resolved when the family cat, Miss Fussywiggles, falls from the castle into the moat and Princess Penelope saves her—after stripping off her gown to reveal pink, flowered swimming trunks and a matching top. Impressed, Grand Lady Busyboots resolves that princesses can henceforth wear whatever they wish. While seeing a princess as savior rather than damsel in distress may still seem novel, it seems a stretch to cast pants-wearing as a broadly contested contemporary American feminist issue. Guthrie and Oppenheim’s unimaginative, singsong rhyme is matched in subtlety by Byrne’s bright illustrations.

Skip it . (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2603-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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