A creative take on problem-solving that will encourage young readers.



In Braun’s debut children’s book, an 8-year-old girl embraces her uniqueness after she has an imaginative, insightful dream.

Nicoletta feels anxious when her father accepts a promotion requiring the family to move. She has always had trouble fitting in with her classmates, so starting a new school will be challenging. She also frets about leaving her beloved hammock behind, where she often gets lost in her own thoughts. Nicoletta falls asleep in it and dreams about visiting a lipstick factory called Lipstickland. Her guide is Deloris, a makeup-wearing hippopotamus, and the factory is filled with animals and humans working together in harmony. Nicoletta is shocked at this because it goes “against the natural order of things...like the popular kids working with the nerdy kids.” As Deloris shows Nicoletta around, the workers enlist the girl’s opinions on products. She even helps them pick teams for a soccer tournament and joins in the game. Deloris offers words of wisdom, enabling Nicoletta to reframe the changes in her life: “All you have to do is be open to the possibilities, believe in yourself, and remember you are never alone.” When Nicoletta wakes up, she tells her parents about Lipstickland and explains that she had the dream for a reason: she “needed to work some things out.” Later, at her new school, Nicoletta’s teacher, Mrs. Morris, is kind and caring like Deloris, and Nicoletta makes friends. Braun’s message here is clear: differences should be celebrated, and everyone has their own personality and purpose. The notion of animals coming together is a nice metaphor and Vazan’s (Laughing IS Conceivable, 2015) full-color and monochrome illustrations playfully complement the narrative. Nicoletta is a likable character, and her fears will be relevant for many children. However, at times, the young girls self-talk seems overly precocious; for example, she says, “Fear of judgement was fading, and so were my feelings of loneliness. My imagination, which had been my companion and my friend, was now focused in a new direction.” The main text of the book uses Dyslexie typeface, specifically created to be easier for dyslexics to read.

A creative take on problem-solving that will encourage young readers.

Pub Date: Nov. 29, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4602-9267-9

Page Count: 60

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: April 6, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


Like the quiet lap of waves on the sand, the alternating introspections of two Bahamian island children in 1492. Morning Girl and her brother Star Boy are very different: she loves the hush of pre-dawn while he revels in night skies, noise, wind. In many ways they are antagonists, each too young and subjective to understand the other's perspective—in contrast to their mother's appreciation for her brother. In the course of these taut chapters concerning such pivotal events as their mother's losing a child, the arrival of a hurricane, or Star Boy's earning the right to his adult name, they grow closer. In the last, Morning Girl greets— with cordial innocence—a boat full of visitors, unaware that her beautifully balanced and textured life is about to be catalogued as ``very poor in everything,'' her island conquered by Europeans. This paradise is so intensely and believably imagined that the epilogue, quoted from Columbus's diary, sickens with its ominous significance. Subtly, Dorris draws parallels between the timeless chafings of sibs set on changing each other's temperaments and the intrusions of states questing new territory. Saddening, compelling—a novel to be cherished for its compassion and humanity. (Fiction. 8+)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 1992

ISBN: 1-56282-284-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1992

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.


A middle-aged woman sidelined by a horrific accident finds even sharper pains waiting on the other side of her recuperation in this expert nightmare by Hardy, familiar to many readers as Megan Hart, author of All the Secrets We Keep (2017), etc.

Five months ago, while she was on her way to the hospital with an ailing gallbladder, Diana Sparrow’s car hit a deer on a rural Pennsylvania road. When she awoke, she was minus her gallbladder, two working collarbones (and therefore two functioning arms), and her memory. During a recovery that would’ve been impossible without the constant ministrations of Harriett Richmond, the mother-in-law who’s the real reason Diana married her husband, Jonathan, Diana’s discovered that Jonathan has been cheating on her with her childhood friend Valerie Delagatti. Divorce is out of the question: Diana’s grown used to the pampered lifestyle the prenup she’d signed would snatch away from her. Every day is filled with torments. She slips and falls in a pool of wine on her kitchen floor she’s sure she didn’t spill herself. At the emergency room, her credit card and debit card are declined. She feels that she hates oppressively solicitous Harriett but has no idea why. Her sessions with her psychiatrist fail to heal her rage at her adoptive mother, an addict who abandoned her then returned only to disappear again and die an ugly death. Even worse, her attempts to recover her lost memory lead to an excruciatingly paced series of revelations. Val says Diana asked her to seduce Jonathan. Diana realizes that Cole, a fellow student in her watercolor class, isn’t the stranger she’d thought he was. Where can this maze of deceptions possibly end?

One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64385-470-0

Page Count: 310

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...


With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet