MARS NEEDS MOMS!

In a typically frenetic outing, the creator of the “Bloom County” and “Outland” comic strips pays tribute to motherhood. Though resentfully regarding Moms as “giant, summer-stealing, child-working, perfumy garden goblins,” Milo gives interplanetary chase when his own mom is abducted by Martians. They, as it turns out, have no mothers of their own, and so no one to do the housework or the driving to soccer practice and playdates. Only when he breaks his filched space helmet and his mother nearly makes the ultimate sacrifice to save him does the lad (and the chastened Martians) come to realize that Momhood includes loving him, as she puts it, “to the ends of the universe.” Breathed places digitally painted caricatures—including some comically ugly humans, jellybean-hued Monsters, Inc.–style aliens and a short blond lad with a graceful, gorgeous mother—against elaborate, out-of-focus backgrounds. He closes with a cozy scene of mother and child snuggled together in their Earthly bed, oblivious to a trio of antennaed peeping toms peering sentimentally through the window. Not exactly subtle, but likely to earn a chuckle or two from the No, David! crowd. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-399-24736-X

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2007

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A close encounter of the best kind.

FIELD TRIP TO THE MOON

Left behind when the space bus departs, a child discovers that the moon isn’t as lifeless as it looks.

While the rest of the space-suited class follows the teacher like ducklings, one laggard carrying crayons and a sketchbook sits down to draw our home planet floating overhead, falls asleep, and wakes to see the bus zooming off. The bright yellow bus, the gaggle of playful field-trippers, and even the dull gray boulders strewn over the equally dull gray lunar surface have a rounded solidity suggestive of Plasticine models in Hare’s wordless but cinematic scenes…as do the rubbery, one-eyed, dull gray creatures (think: those stress-busting dolls with ears that pop out when squeezed) that emerge from the regolith. The mutual shock lasts but a moment before the lunarians eagerly grab the proffered crayons to brighten the bland gray setting with silly designs. The creatures dive into the dust when the bus swoops back down but pop up to exchange goodbye waves with the errant child, who turns out to be an olive-skinned kid with a mop of brown hair last seen drawing one of their new friends with the one crayon—gray, of course—left in the box. Body language is expressive enough in this debut outing to make a verbal narrative superfluous.

A close encounter of the best kind. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4253-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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

MY LITTLE BRAVE GIRL

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

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