There is no child who won’t empathize with Lucy and cheer for her reunion with Smelly Baby.

LUCY'S LOVEY

A lost-and–found-again doll brings together the members of a family.

Devany takes several spreads to set up Smelly Baby’s back story. She is one of the white redhead’s 17 dolls, all with similarly interesting monikers and many of color, but she is the titular lovey and also white. She’s the only one to sleep on Lucy’s bed, and she goes everywhere with the preschooler. And although her name came from her original peppermint smell, it’s now fitting for an altogether different reason, especially after Grandma Nell’s dog, Stasher, gets hold of her, which is why, on the car trip home, she gets lost while being held out the window to “air,” her still-stinky arm the only part Lucy is left holding. Despite her preteen attitude, big sister Ivy is very helpful in trying to help Lucy come to terms with her doll’s loss. But then, all too soon it seems, based on the lengthy lead-up, Smelly Baby arrives in the mail along with a letter containing a sentence that may save other lost dolls: “How smart of you to write your name and address on her tummy!” She’s also freshly laundered. Lucy and Smelly Baby do their best to rectify that. Denise’s vignette and full-page illustrations portray the magical relationship between a young girl and her lovey, and the facial expressions, especially Ivy’s, are spot-on.

There is no child who won’t empathize with Lucy and cheer for her reunion with Smelly Baby. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-147-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught...

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A PROBLEM?

A child struggles with the worry and anxiety that come with an unexpected problem.

In a wonderful balance of text and pictures, the team responsible for What Do You Do With an Idea (2014) returns with another book inspiring children to feel good about themselves. A child frets about a problem that won’t go away: “I wished it would just disappear. I tried everything I could to hide from it. I even found ways to disguise myself. But it still found me.” The spare, direct narrative is accompanied by soft gray illustrations in pencil and watercolor. The sepia-toned figure of the child is set apart from the background and surrounded by lots of white space, visually isolating the problem, which is depicted as a purple storm cloud looming overhead. Color is added bit by bit as the storm cloud grows and its color becomes more saturated. With a backpack and umbrella, the child tries to escape the problem while the storm swirls, awash with compass points scattered across the pages. The pages brighten into splashes of yellow as the child decides to tackle the problem head-on and finds that it holds promise for unlooked-for opportunity.

A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught situations, this belongs on the shelf alongside Molly Bang’s Sophie books. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-943-20000-9

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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Accessible, reassuring and hopeful.

THE INVISIBLE BOY

This endearing picture book about a timid boy who longs to belong has an agenda but delivers its message with great sensitivity.

Brian wants to join in but is overlooked, even ostracized, by his classmates. Readers first see him alone on the front endpapers, drawing in chalk on the ground. The school scenarios are uncomfortably familiar: High-maintenance children get the teacher’s attention; team captains choose kickball players by popularity and athletic ability; chatter about birthday parties indicates they are not inclusive events. Tender illustrations rendered in glowing hues capture Brian’s isolation deftly; compared to the others and his surroundings, he appears in black and white. What saves Brian is his creativity. As he draws, Brian imagines amazing stories, including a poignant one about a superhero with the power to make friends. When a new boy takes some ribbing, it is Brian who leaves an illustrated note to make him feel better. The boy does not forget this gesture. It only takes one person noticing Brian for the others to see his talents have value; that he has something to contribute. Brian’s colors pop. In the closing endpapers, Brian’s classmates are spread around him on the ground, “wearing” his chalk-drawn wings and capes. Use this to start a discussion: The author includes suggested questions and recommended reading lists for adults and children.

Accessible, reassuring and hopeful. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-582-46450-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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