A cleverly funny animal tale with giggleworthy illustrations.


A creature’s surprise birthday party goes awry when all of the guests get the flu in this rhyming picture book debut.

Lion is sad and lonely on his birthday. But then his friends arrive with flowers, presents, and balloons—and the revels begin. Unfortunately, Hippo starts sneezing. Soon, Hippo, Gorilla, Rhino, and Polar Bear have all come down with the flu, and poor Lion is left running to get them tea, tissues, soup, and “goo” for chests. All that work is too much: “ ‘I want my mommy!’ Lion roared. / They all whined, ‘We do too!’ ” But they start mending, and soon Lion’s friends are feeling great—and taking care of the big cat, who’s finally caught the flu. Michaels’ rhyme scheme flows beautifully throughout, with smart word choices like “askew” and “flared” that painlessly introduce vocabulary to newly independent readers. The cartoon images by debut illustrator Hernandez are a comical delight, with the huge (all male) animals snuggled up sick in the same large bed. Occasionally, the text and the accompanying picture aren’t quite in synch. A description of Hippo’s sneeze blowing everyone’s food everywhere is matched with a close-up of his face and the aftermath of the calamity, making it feel as though a transition is missing. But young readers will be able to piece together the clues.

A cleverly funny animal tale with giggleworthy illustrations.

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73306-630-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Mulberry Street Publishing

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2019

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves


A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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With the same delightfully irreverent spirit that he brought to his retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" (1987), Marshall enlivens another favorite. Although completely retold with his usual pungent wit and contemporary touches ("I don't mind if I do," says Goldilocks, as she tries out porridge, chair, and bed), Marshall retains the stories well-loved pattern, including Goldilocks escaping through the window (whereupon Baby Bear inquires, "Who was that little girl?"). The illustrations are fraught with delicious humor and detail: books that are stacked everywhere around the rather cluttered house, including some used in lieu of a missing leg for Papa Bear's chair; comically exaggerated beds—much too high at the head and the foot; and Baby Bear's wonderfully messy room, which certainly brings the story into the 20th century. Like its predecessor, perfect for several uses, from picture-book hour to beginning reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1988

ISBN: 0140563660

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1988

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