Don’t rest too easy. “I’ll be back!” intones our young Schwarzenegger.


We all know them—on the plane, on the train, in the car seat, after nighty-night: big bad baby.

Little Sammy is positively cherubic—all pink and roly-poly with Kewpie-doll cowlick and goo-goo eyes—but given half a chance, he becomes Bad Baby. Applesauce too tart? Time to chase the cat with hair clippers. Nap delayed? Time to work some Jackson Pollack with the mustard squeeze bottle. But Bad Baby has his eyes on making a real statement. So he cobbles together a Monster Machine, and voilà—a really big and bad baby emerges. He plays with trucks as if they were Matchbox toys, uses a lamppost as a baton and unleashes a hurricane-force belch. Not to mention the tsunami of drool. Police, firefighters, even the librarian—all are helpless before this diapered behemoth. That is, until the clothes drier finishes with his security blanket. Hale gives Breen plenty of room, supplying a rhythmically funny text that offers up one funny situation after another. Even as a towering Babyzilla, the giant tot retains his look of wide-eyed innocence. Bad Baby conducts his mayhem with so winning a grin on his puss, he’s no threat—he’s an entertainer (as long as he stays in the picture book).

Don’t rest too easy. “I’ll be back!” intones our young Schwarzenegger. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8037-35859

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance.


From the Big Bright Feelings series

A boy with wings learns to be himself and inspires others like him to soar, too.

Norman, a “perfectly normal” boy, never dreamed he might grow wings. Afraid of what his parents might say, he hides his new wings under a big, stuffy coat. Although the coat hides his wings from the world, Norman no longer finds joy in bathtime, playing at the park, swimming, or birthday parties. With the gentle encouragement of his parents, who see his sadness, Norman finds the courage to come out of hiding and soar. Percival (The Magic Looking Glass, 2017, etc.) depicts Norman with light skin and dark hair. Black-and-white illustrations show his father with dark skin and hair and his mother as white. The contrast of black-and-white illustrations with splashes of bright color complements the story’s theme. While Norman tries to be “normal,” the world and people around him look black and gray, but his coat stands out in yellow. Birds pop from the page in pink, green, and blue, emphasizing the joy and beauty of flying free. The final spread, full of bright color and multiracial children in flight, sets the mood for Norman’s realization on the last page that there is “no such thing as perfectly normal,” but he can be “perfectly Norman.”

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-785-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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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, 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 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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