Feels like a party, and you'll want to jump in.


A rhyming picture book celebrates pool time.

An ensemble of nameless children enjoys a cheerful outing at a public pool. Using compact couplets, the text describes their activities—belly-flopping, gliding underwater, sunbathing on the deck, and more. It also captures the sights, sounds, and sensations of the experience, such as “FINGERS PRUNED” and the “SUN-KISSED GLOW” that follows a long swim. Illustrations showing kids having all sorts of fun in the rippling blue water, using animal floaties, and eating Popsicles invite interest in what, to some young readers, might be an unfamiliar place. A class sensibility seems to be at work since the artwork portrays a swimming facility with bountiful equipment and tropical deck plants—a far cry from most public pools. Excellent vocabulary-building opportunities present in the brief text (cannonball and marooned, to name a few), which also offers plenty of chances to act out scenes and have conversations about water safety. The colorful illustrations take pleasing turns with full-bleed double-page spreads, continuous narrative art, and spot-art close-ups. Adults are only present to pick up the kids at the end of the party, there are no squabbles, and no Band-Aids are needed. Children are depicted with a range of skin tones and hair colors, and some are taller than others; but all are able-bodied, which is a missed chance to help disabled kids see themselves in such a setting.

Feels like a party, and you'll want to jump in. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-951836-41-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cameron + Company

Review Posted Online: Dec. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2022

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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.


Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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A quiet book about making a giant leap.


Lottie knows something no one else knows. Her mother and brother don’t know. Her swimming instructor does not know, and the other children in swim class certainly don’t know.

There is a shark that lives in the pool. It wants to eat Lottie—only Lottie—and Lottie is not going to let it get anywhere near her. Most children have had moments when they’ve sat on the sidelines watching others laugh and play because they were too scared to just dive in, and that is precisely where Lottie finds herself. Lucky for her, Walter shows up just in time. He sings, they read books, play in bubbles, and even share the same favorite food. But when it comes time for Lottie to face her fears, can Walter truly help? Walter, as readers and Lottie see but her family may not, is an enormous walrus. Walker’s soft and appropriately watery illustrations complement and extend her whimsical text, lending a dreamlike feel to the story. Readers will discern the shadowy, predatory shape of the shark below the surface of the water even as Lottie’s classmates splash and play, and they will sympathize, and they will giggle at the depictions of Walter’s huge bulk in Lottie’s tidy urban home while believing that Walter will protect her. Lottie, her mother, and her brother have light-brown skin and black hair.

A quiet book about making a giant leap. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-47038-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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