Not the best exploration of a friendly twosome—stick with Mr. Putter and Tabby or George and Martha.

READ REVIEW

THE SCARY MONSTER

From the Pip and Posy series

Pip and Posy are back in an oddly flat tale.

One rainy, boring day, Posy decides to bake some cupcakes, washing her hands, donning her apron and mixing up ingredients. While they are baking, a tap at the window and a big, blue, furry hand draw her attention. The suspense and fear ratchet up as there is a knock at the door, where a monster head is just visible. When the door opens, poor Posy dissolves into tears and hides behind the couch. But when she sees her good friend Pip’s feet protruding from the costume, she loses all her fears. Pip apologizes for scaring her and offers to let her try the costume. The two play, then break for a snack of cupcakes and milk. All’s well that ends well, but still, there is something off. The duo (a bunny and a mouse) are a strange mix of adult and child—Posy baking cupcakes all by herself, yet dragging around her stuffed frog and being reduced to tears of fright over the monster. Still, simple vocabulary and two or three short sentences per page make this a good choice for beginning readers, and Scheffler’s ink-and-gouache artwork is both bright and cute.

Not the best exploration of a friendly twosome—stick with Mr. Putter and Tabby or George and Martha. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5918-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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Lost and found was never so riotously funny or emotionally draining.

DON'T FORGET DEXTER!

A lost toy goes through an existential crisis.

The setup is on the copyright page. Amid the markers of a universally recognizable waiting room—fish tank, chairs against the wall, receptionist’s window, kids’ coloring table—is a tiny orange T. Rex with a dialogue balloon: “Hello?” A turn of the page brings Dexter T. Rexter into close view, and he explains his dilemma directly to readers. He and his best friend came for a checkup, but Jack’s disappeared. Maybe readers can help? But when Jack is still MIA, Dexter becomes disconsolate, believing his friend might have left him behind on purpose; maybe he likes another toy better? Dexter weighs his good qualities against those he lacks, and he comes up short. But when readers protest (indicated by a change in Dexter’s tone after the turn of the page), Dexter gains the determination he needs to make a plan. Unfortunately, though hilariously, his escape plan fails. But luckily, a just-as-upset black boy comes looking for Dexter, and the two are reunited. Ward’s ink, colored-pencil, and cut-paper illustrations give readers a toy’s view of the world and allow children to stomp in Dexter’s feet for a while, his facial expressions giving them lots of clues to his feelings. Readers will be reminded of both Knuffle Bunny and Scaredy Squirrel, but Dexter is a character all his own.

Lost and found was never so riotously funny or emotionally draining. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4727-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

I AM ENOUGH

A feel-good book about self-acceptance.

Empire star Byers and Bobo offer a beautifully illustrated, rhyming picture book detailing what one brown-skinned little girl with an impressive Afro appreciates about herself. Relying on similes, the text establishes a pattern with the opening sentence, “Like the sun, I’m here to shine,” and follows it through most of the book. Some of them work well, while others fall flat: “Like the rain, I’m here to pour / and drip and fall until I’m full.” In some vignettes she’s by herself; and in others, pictured along with children of other races. While the book’s pro-diversity message comes through, the didactic and even prideful expressions of self-acceptance make the book exasperatingly preachy—a common pitfall for books by celebrity authors. In contrast, Bobo’s illustrations are visually stunning. After painting the children and the objects with which they interact, such as flowers, books, and a red wagon, in acrylic on board for a traditional look, she scanned the images into Adobe Photoshop and added the backgrounds digitally in chalk. This lends a whimsical feel to such details as a rainbow, a window, wind, and rain—all reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Bobo creates an inclusive world of girls in which wearing glasses, using a wheelchair, wearing a head scarf, and having a big Afro are unconditionally accepted rather than markers for othering.

A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266712-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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