A less-strident Mandy would be welcome if she makes any further appearances.

DON'T WEAR POLKA-DOT UNDERWEAR WITH WHITE PANTS

(AND OTHER LESSONS I'VE LEARNED)

Second-grader Mandy (her mother thinks it’s “Amanda”) has strong opinions about everything, including her name.

Whether it’s her love of the color periwinkle or her disdain for the color pink, Mandy holds firm to her opinions. She tries to love her baby twins, Samantha and Cody, but they are always “damp,” and she barely tolerates her little brother Timmy. As the oldest child, she feels she can be the boss of the family. She loves Rainbow Sparkle, a cartoon cat with a TV show of her own, and she wants to be George Washington in her class’s Presidential Pageant. She really does not like her new nickname, “Polka Dot,” which is what her classmate Dennis calls her after her polka-dot underwear showed through the awful white pants her mother forced her to wear. Eventually, and a little too neatly, all is resolved: Mandy finally appreciates her roles in the class pageant, with her former nemesis, Natalie, and in her very own family. Readers of the Clementine series will find similarities, especially the first-person narration that gives readers a front-row seat into Mandy’s brain. However, it’s hard to find much to like in this whiny 8-year-old until the very end.

A less-strident Mandy would be welcome if she makes any further appearances. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4424-8393-4

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Well-meaning and with a lovely presentation, this sentimental effort may be aimed more at adults than kids.

MY LITTLE BRAVE GIRL

Little girls are given encouragement and assurance so they can meet the challenges of life as they move through the big, wide world.

Delicately soft watercolor-style art depicts naturalistic scenes with a diverse quintet of little girls portraying potential situations they will encounter, as noted by a narrative heavily dependent on a series of clichés. “The stars are high, and you can reach them,” it promises as three of the girls chase fireflies under a star-filled night sky. “Oceans run deep, and you will learn to swim,” it intones as one girl treads water and another leans over the edge of a boat to observe life on the ocean floor. “Your feet will take many steps, my brave little girl. / Let your heart lead the way.” Girls gingerly step across a brook before making their way through a meadow. The point of all these nebulous metaphors seems to be to inculcate in girls the independence, strength, and confidence they’ll need to succeed in their pursuits. Trying new things, such as foods, is a “delicious new adventure.” Though the quiet, gentle text is filled with uplifting words that parents will intuitively relate to or comprehend, the esoteric messages may be a bit sentimental and ambiguous for kids to understand or even connect to. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.5-by-19-inch double-page spreads viewed at 50% of actual size.)

Well-meaning and with a lovely presentation, this sentimental effort may be aimed more at adults than kids. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-30072-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

Patchy work, both visually and teleologically.

YOU'RE HERE FOR A REASON

The sultana of high-fructose sentimentality reminds readers that they really are all that.

Despite the title, we’re actually here for a couple of reasons. In fulsome if vague language Tillman embeds one message, that acts of kindness “may triple for days… / or set things in motion in different ways,” in a conceptually separate proposition that she summarizes thus: “perhaps you forgot— / a piece of the world that is precious and dear / would surely be missing if you weren’t here.” Her illustrations elaborate on both themes in equally abstract terms: a lad releases a red kite that ends up a sled for fox kits, while its ribbons add decorative touches to bird nests and a moose before finally being vigorously twirled by a girl and (startlingly) a pair of rearing tigers. Without transition the focus then shifts as the kite is abruptly replaced by a red ball. Both embodied metaphors, plus children and animals, gather at the end for a closing circle dance. The illustrator lavishes attention throughout on figures of children and wild animals, which are depicted with such microscopically precise realism that every fine hair and feather is visible, but she then floats them slightly above hazy, generic backdrops. The overall design likewise has a slapdash feel, as some spreads look relatively crowded with verses while others bear only a single line or phrase.

Patchy work, both visually and teleologically. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-05626-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more