A charmingly illustrated book with a strong heroine, a solid message, and an accessible vocabulary for newly independent...



Pink, glitter, and a curly-haired protagonist shout out the girl appeal of this lesson about accepting who you are and how you look.

The heroine wasn’t born the spiral-curled child gracing the front cover of this debut picture book. Readers are introduced to her first as a bald baby with an already expressive face and active demeanor. Her older siblings don’t know why her hair won’t grow. But when it finally sprouts, Curlee Girlee sports a full head of out-of-control hair, unlike everyone else in the family. While her nickname is given with affection, Curlee Girlee soon becomes frustrated with being different from her straight-haired siblings and parents. Although her mother tries to comfort her, Curlee Girlee takes steps to fix her hair herself. The precocious preschooler attempts to use a brush and water but only makes her hair even fluffier. She tries a rolling pin but only succeeds in causing a kitchen disaster. Then she concocts her own shampoo from strawberry syrup, honey, and other sticky ingredients, but the mess only gets worse. Eventually, after a dream of magic barrettes, Curlee Girlee snoops in her mother’s closet and discovers a photo of a relative with hair just like hers. Looking different from the rest of the family can be hard on children, especially during their preschool years. In Twersky’s tale, Curlee Girlee’s ability to accept herself just as she is does not come easily, which makes her journey feel realistic and earned. Some children will never have the validation of a relative who looks like them, but the love the heroine’s mother shows her daughter, even when she makes mistakes, provides comfort and opportunities for parents to discuss distinctions with questioning kids. Wolcott’s (Dream It! Do It!, 2015, etc.) illustrations are wonderful throughout, capturing Curlee Girlee’s spirit perfectly, with the exception of one seemingly misplaced image that is missing all the goop she’s created. Curlee Girlee’s features are pale, and her hair is light brown, but the infectious child, the loving family, and the moral of learning to like your own appearance should ring true even for those who don’t see themselves reflected in the cute pictures.

A charmingly illustrated book with a strong heroine, a solid message, and an accessible vocabulary for newly independent readers.

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9968438-1-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sandbox Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 1

First volume of a planned three, this edited version of an ongoing online serial records a middle-school everykid’s triumphs and (more often) tribulations through the course of a school year. Largely through his own fault, mishaps seem to plague Greg at every turn, from the minor freak-outs of finding himself permanently seated in class between two pierced stoners and then being saddled with his mom for a substitute teacher, to being forced to wrestle in gym with a weird classmate who has invited him to view his “secret freckle.” Presented in a mix of legible “hand-lettered” text and lots of simple cartoon illustrations with the punch lines often in dialogue balloons, Greg’s escapades, unwavering self-interest and sardonic commentary are a hoot and a half—certain to elicit both gales of giggles and winces of sympathy (not to mention recognition) from young readers. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-8109-9313-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded.

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Tiny, sassy Bob the dog, friend of The One and Only Ivan (2012), returns to tell his tale.

Wisecracking Bob, who is a little bit Chihuahua among other things, now lives with his girl, Julia, and her parents. Happily, her father works at Wildworld Zoological Park and Sanctuary, the zoo where Bob’s two best friends, Ivan the gorilla and Ruby the elephant, live, so Bob gets to visit and catch up with them regularly. Due to an early betrayal, Bob doesn’t trust humans (most humans are good only for their thumbs); he fears he’s going soft living with Julia, and he’s certain he is a Bad Dog—as in “not a good representative of my species.” On a visit to the zoo with a storm threatening, Bob accidentally falls into the gorilla enclosure just as a tornado strikes. So that’s what it’s like to fly. In the storm’s aftermath, Bob proves to everyone (and finally himself) that there is a big heart in that tiny chest…and a brave one too. With this companion, Applegate picks up where her Newbery Medal winner left off, and fans will be overjoyed to ride along in the head of lovable, self-deprecating Bob on his storm-tossed adventure. His wry doggy observations and attitude are pitch perfect (augmented by the canine glossary and Castelao’s picture dictionary of dog postures found in the frontmatter). Gorilla Ivan described Julia as having straight, black hair in the previous title, and Castelao's illustrations in that volume showed her as pale-skinned. (Finished art not available for review.)

With Ivan’s movie out this year from Disney, expect great interest—it will be richly rewarded. (afterword) (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299131-7

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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