For youngsters working on self-control (a school-readiness skill), Stewart does…eventually…learn that good things come to...

READ REVIEW

THIS MONSTER CANNOT WAIT!

Stewart, from This Monster Needs a Haircut (2012), is going camping for the first time, and he (literally) cannot wait.

The camping trip is five whole days away. That is agony for such an impulsive and excitable monster. (Even on the title page, he’s already urging readers to “Just read the book already!”) In the hopes of speeding things up, Stewart paints the clocks, changes the calendar and even builds a time machine—but nothing works. Then Stewart realizes that if he could just make the end of the story come faster, camping would come faster too! Crumbling the fourth wall for readers, he reaches down to tug at the corners of the pages, while eagerly ripping another completely in half. Fortunately, Stewart’s parents are not amused and make him tape the book back together. Toothy and unkempt, with wild eyes and a temper tantrum of a roar—“I wanna go camping NOW!”—Stewart fully embodies a preschooler who has not yet mastered the art of waiting. Barton’s sprawling, hand-lettered text and its buoyant placement match the urgency of Stewart’s desperation. Patience is certainly a virtue, and one that is difficult to learn.

For youngsters working on self-control (a school-readiness skill), Stewart does…eventually…learn that good things come to those who wait. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 18, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3779-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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Banal affirmation buoyed by charming illustrations.

I BELIEVE I CAN

Diversity is the face of this picture book designed to inspire confidence in children.

Fans of Byers and Bobo’s I Am Enough (2018) will enjoy this book that comes with a universal message of self-acceptance. A line of children practices ballet at the barre; refreshingly, two of the four are visibly (and adorably) pudgy. Another group tends a couple of raised beds; one of them wears hijab. Two more children coax a trepidatious friend down a steep slide. Further images, of children pretending to be pirates, dragons, mimes, playing superhero and soccer, and cooking, are equally endearing, but unfortunately they don’t add enough heft to set the book apart from other empowerment books for children. Though the illustrations shine, the text remains pedagogic and bland. Clichés abound: “When I believe in myself, there’s simply nothing I can’t do”; “Sometimes I am right, and sometimes I am wrong. / But even when I make mistakes, I learn from them to make me strong.” The inclusion of children with varying abilities, religions, genders, body types, and racial presentations creates an inviting tone that makes the book palatable. It’s hard to argue with the titular sentiment, but this is not the only book of its ilk on the shelf.

Banal affirmation buoyed by charming illustrations. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-266713-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for...

OLIVER AND HIS EGG

Oliver, of first-day-of-school alligator fame, is back, imagining adventures and still struggling to find balance between introversion and extroversion.

“When Oliver found his egg…” on the playground, mint-green backgrounds signifying Oliver’s flight into fancy slowly grow larger until they take up entire spreads; Oliver’s creature, white and dinosaurlike with orange polka dots, grows larger with them. Their adventures include sharing treats, sailing the seas and going into outer space. A classmate’s yell brings him back to reality, where readers see him sitting on top of a rock. Even considering Schmid’s scribbly style, readers can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he ponders the girl and whether or not to give up his solitary play. “But when Oliver found his rock… // Oliver imagined many adventures // with all his friends!” This last is on a double gatefold that opens to show the children enjoying the creature’s slippery curves. A final wordless spread depicts all the children sitting on rocks, expressions gleeful, wondering, waiting, hopeful. The illustrations, done in pastel pencil and digital color, again make masterful use of white space and page turns, although this tale is not nearly as funny or tongue-in-cheek as Oliver and His Alligator (2013), nor is its message as clear and immediately accessible to children.

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for all children but sadly isn’t. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7573-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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