A super story for anyone who wants to be a superhero.

I JUST WANT TO BE SUPER!

After gaining superpowers, Nino discovers what it really means to be super.

When Nino tries on a superhero mask, he gains superpowers, suddenly soaring above the kitchen floor. When he tries to show Papa, he is told to put away his dishes. Nino uses his powers to put them away “SUPER style,” even though he doesn’t want to. And before he can use his superpowers to make art with his sister, Mama tells him to get dressed. “So he SHAZAMMED into his shirt and shorts.” Throughout the day, Nino wants to use his powers for fun, but someone always diverts him. Finally, Nino loses his temper at the park because his father won’t let him use his powers to throw a huge rock. When Nino faces a monster that has captured his cat, he discovers other ways to be super. Nino and his superpowers capture a child’s energy and wild imagination even as his family demonstrates patience and reasonable boundary-setting. Nino’s adventure, which kids can read as literal or imaginary as they will, shows that there are many different ways to be super, like showing empathy, helping others, making new friends, and being gentle. Nino’s character will resonate with kids, capturing a child’s perspective and emotions well. The appealing illustrations are fun and bold, exuding the super energy of the text, and present the whole family with brown skin and straight, black hair.

A super story for anyone who wants to be a superhero. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-2-89802-193-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: CrackBoom! Books

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride.

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THE PIGEON WILL RIDE THE ROLLER COASTER!

The Pigeon is on an emotional—and physical—roller coaster.

Since learning about the existence of roller coasters, he’s become giddy with excitement. The Pigeon prepares mentally: He’ll need a ticket and “exemplary patience” to wait in line. He envisions zooming up and down and careening through dizzying turns and loops. Then, he imagines his emotions afterward: exhilaration, post-ride blues, pride at having accomplished such a feat, and enthusiasm at the prospect of riding again. (He’ll also feel dizzy and nauseous.) All this before the Pigeon ever sets claw on an actual coaster. So…will he really try it? Are roller coasters fun? When the moment comes, everything seems to go according to plan: waiting in line, settling into the little car, THEN—off he goes! Though the ride itself isn’t quite what the Pigeon expected, it will delight readers. Wearing his feelings on his wing and speaking directly to the audience in first person, the Pigeon describes realistic thoughts and emotions about waiting and guessing about the unknown—common childhood experiences. No sentiment is misplaced; kids will relate to Pigeon’s eagerness and apprehension. The ending falls somewhat flat, but the whole humorous point is that an underwhelming adventure can still be thrilling enough to warrant repeating. Willems’ trademark droll illustrations will have readers giggling. The roller-coaster attendant is light-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4549-4686-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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A forgettable tale.

THE LITTLEST REINDEER

Dot, the smallest reindeer at the North Pole, is too little to fly with the reindeer team on Christmas Eve, but she helps Santa in a different, unexpected way.

Dot is distressed because she can’t jump and fly like the other, bigger reindeer. Her family members encourage her and help her practice her skills, and her mother tells her, “There’s always next year.” Dot’s elf friend, Oliver, encourages her and spends time playing with her, doing things that Dot can do well, such as building a snowman and chasing their friend Yeti (who looks like a fuzzy, white gumdrop). On Christmas Eve, Santa and the reindeer team take off with their overloaded sleigh. Only Dot notices one small present that’s fallen in the snow, and she successfully leaps into the departing sleigh with the gift. This climactic flying leap into the sleigh is not adequately illustrated, as Dot is shown just starting to leap and then already in the sleigh. A saccharine conclusion notes that being little can sometimes be great and that “having a friend by your side makes anything possible.” The story is pleasant but predictable, with an improbably easy solution to Dot’s problem. Illustrations in a muted palette are similarly pleasant but predictable, with a greeting-card flavor that lacks originality. The elf characters include boys, girls, and adults; all the elves and Santa and Mrs. Claus are white.

A forgettable tale. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-338-15738-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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