Adorable fun for chapter-book newbies looking for a few giggles.


From the Warren & Dragon series , Vol. 1

In this series debut, a boy learns that when it comes to friends, quality is more important than quantity.

Warren Reginald Nesbitt is moving and will be starting second grade at a new school. The 7-year-old is lucky he has his pet, Dragon, a plush toy who’s real only to him, to help him adjust. Then his outgoing twin sister, Ellie, dares him to make 100 friends before she does. Shy Warren accepts the challenge: “I’m going to make more new friends than you.” But inside, he thinks, in his endearingly honest first-person narration, “I do not say I might not believe what I just said.” Marshmallow-loving Dragon offers Warren friend-making advice: Give a compliment. “You do not smell like rotten pumpkins,” Warren says to classmate Alison. Making new friends may take a while, but it will be worth it. In Book 2, Weekend with Chewy, Warren takes the class hamster home for two days. In addition to performing general pet care, Warren must write a report and keep Chewy safe from mischievous Dragon’s boundless appetite. How will he find the time to build a secret snack-smuggling ramp with his friend Michael? In both the black-and-white artwork and, notably, the text, Warren, his family, and Alison are white; Michael’s two-mom family is black.

Adorable fun for chapter-book newbies looking for a few giggles. (Fiction. 5-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-425-28844-3

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Inspiration, shrink wrapped.


From an artist, poet, and Instagram celebrity, a pep talk for all who question where a new road might lead.

Opening by asking readers, “Have you ever wanted to go in a different direction,” the unnamed narrator describes having such a feeling and then witnessing the appearance of a new road “almost as if it were magic.” “Where do you lead?” the narrator asks. The Road’s twice-iterated response—“Be a leader and find out”—bookends a dialogue in which a traveler’s anxieties are answered by platitudes. “What if I fall?” worries the narrator in a stylized, faux hand-lettered type Wade’s Instagram followers will recognize. The Road’s dialogue and the narration are set in a chunky, sans-serif type with no quotation marks, so the one flows into the other confusingly. “Everyone falls at some point, said the Road. / But I will always be there when you land.” Narrator: “What if the world around us is filled with hate?” Road: “Lead it to love.” Narrator: “What if I feel stuck?” Road: “Keep going.” De Moyencourt illustrates this colloquy with luminous scenes of a small, brown-skinned child, face turned away from viewers so all they see is a mop of blond curls. The child steps into an urban mural, walks along a winding country road through broad rural landscapes and scary woods, climbs a rugged metaphorical mountain, then comes to stand at last, Little Prince–like, on a tiny blue and green planet. Wade’s closing claim that her message isn’t meant just for children is likely superfluous…in fact, forget the just.

Inspiration, shrink wrapped. (Picture book. 6-8, adult)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26949-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Well-meaning and with a lovely presentation, this sentimental effort may be aimed more at adults than kids.


Little girls are given encouragement and assurance so they can meet the challenges of life as they move through the big, wide world.

Delicately soft watercolor-style art depicts naturalistic scenes with a diverse quintet of little girls portraying potential situations they will encounter, as noted by a narrative heavily dependent on a series of clichés. “The stars are high, and you can reach them,” it promises as three of the girls chase fireflies under a star-filled night sky. “Oceans run deep, and you will learn to swim,” it intones as one girl treads water and another leans over the edge of a boat to observe life on the ocean floor. “Your feet will take many steps, my brave little girl. / Let your heart lead the way.” Girls gingerly step across a brook before making their way through a meadow. The point of all these nebulous metaphors seems to be to inculcate in girls the independence, strength, and confidence they’ll need to succeed in their pursuits. Trying new things, such as foods, is a “delicious new adventure.” Though the quiet, gentle text is filled with uplifting words that parents will intuitively relate to or comprehend, the esoteric messages may be a bit sentimental and ambiguous for kids to understand or even connect to. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.5-by-19-inch double-page spreads viewed at 50% of actual size.)

Well-meaning and with a lovely presentation, this sentimental effort may be aimed more at adults than kids. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-30072-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?