Crespo needs a dictionary if she’s going to make the series succeed.



From the My Emotions and Me series

Young JP’s happy mood takes a (temporary) flier when he discovers from a dinosaur-shaped measuring sign that he’s too short for the Tween-o-Saurus Rex pool.

The latest entry in Crespo’s My Emotions and Me series goes seriously off the rails, as the Mood-o-Meter on the cover points to “sad,” but JP’s feelings seem a lot more like frustration or rage. The lad himself misidentifies his reaction to passing well beneath the “You Must Be This Tall” sign: “I almost threw a fit. I was so sad.” The fugue only lasts a page turn, whereupon JP recalls that “I am a happy dinosaur” and cheerfully goes off to do a cannonball into the presumably relatively shallow Diplodo-Kids pool. Sirotich’s cartoon illustrations will likewise leave young readers confused. If they are not puzzled by the way that the sign comes to life when JP tries to argue with it, or how JP and everyone else are depicted as dinosaurs on some spreads and people on others, then a later scene in which he is again made “sad” by the sight of a dog riding a tricycle will definitely make them scratch their heads. The author’s italicized closing disclaimer that she’s not an expert in child psychology is probably superfluous.

Crespo needs a dictionary if she’s going to make the series succeed. (note to parents and teachers) (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-3981-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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A straightforward tale of conflict and reconciliation for newly emergent readers? Not exactly, which raises it above the...


In this deceptively spare, very beginning reader, a girl assembles a robot and then treats it like a slave until it goes on strike.

Having put the robot together from a jumble of loose parts, the budding engineer issues an increasingly peremptory series of rhymed orders— “Throw, Bot. / Row, Bot”—that turn from playful activities like chasing bubbles in the yard to tasks like hoeing the garden, mowing the lawn and towing her around in a wagon. Jung crafts a robot with riveted edges, big googly eyes and a smile that turns down in stages to a scowl as the work is piled on. At last, the exhausted robot plops itself down, then in response to its tormentor’s angry “Don’t say no, Bot!” stomps off in a huff. In one to four spacious, sequential panels per spread, Jung develops both the plotline and the emotional conflict using smoothly modeled cartoon figures against monochromatic or minimally detailed backgrounds. The child’s commands, confined in small dialogue balloons, are rhymed until her repentant “Come on home, Bot” breaks the pattern but leads to a more equitable division of labor at the end.

A straightforward tale of conflict and reconciliation for newly emergent readers? Not exactly, which raises it above the rest. (Easy reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 25, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-87083-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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Uncomplicated and worthwhile for any age.


Parr focuses his simplistic childlike art and declarative sentences on gratitude for the pleasures and wonders of a child’s everyday life.

Using images of both kids and animals, each colorful scene in bold primary colors declaims a reason to be thankful. “I am thankful for my hair because it makes me unique” shows a yellow-faced child with a wild purple coiffure, indicating self-esteem. An elephant with large pink ears happily exclaims, “I am thankful for my ears because they let me hear words like ‘I love you.’ ” Humor is interjected with, “I am thankful for underwear because I like to wear it on my head.” (Parents will hope that it is clean, but potty-humor–loving children probably won’t care.) Children are encouraged to be thankful for feet, music, school, vacations and the library, “because it is filled with endless adventures,” among other things. The book’s cheery, upbeat message is clearly meant to inspire optimistic gratitude; Parr exhorts children to “remember some [things to be thankful for] every day.”

Uncomplicated and worthwhile for any age. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-316-18101-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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