More of the same—but a nice more.



The Thurber Prize winner’s first collection of poetry for children has a familiar feel, except for that blue hyena.

In poems generally inspired by real-life experiences, Trillin turns his gaze upon the ebb and flow of childhood. The kids here are sure to strike a familiar chord with anyone who knows a stuffed-animal hoarder or has a sister incapable of keeping to her side of the back seat. For readers accustomed to Shel Silverstein, Jack Prelutsky, and the like, Trillin breaks little new ground with this collection, presenting such usual suspects as kids who want a dog (“To Get a Pet”), unwanted younger siblings (“Baby Brother Billy”), and bossy older siblings (“Who Plays What”). There are some notable exceptions, however, as in “Who’s the Awfulest Kid in Your Class?” in which a nephew with an inquisitive uncle feels compelled to invent a bully. Trillin’s wordplay can be enjoyable (“She’s over the line, / She’s over the line. / She occupies space / That’s rightfully mine”) but more often than not merely feels diligent. Chast’s beleaguered, oft-frenzied, only occasionally multiracial denizens do much to elevate Trillin’s familiar subjects. Her blue hyena is an exercise in child-friendly psychosis, while her pictorial demonstration of shoe-tying mishaps is laugh-out-loud funny.

More of the same—but a nice more. (Picture book/poetry. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-82578-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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“Little boy blue / come blow your tuba. / The sheep are in Venice, / and the cow’s in Aruba.” Pairing frenetic and garishly colored art to familiar rhymes in “more modern, more fresh, and well…more Goosian” versions, Seibold stakes out Stinky Cheese Man territory to introduce “Jack and Jill / and a pickle named Bill,” the Old Woman Who Lived in a Sneaker (“She had a great big stereo speaker”), Peter Pumpkin Pickle Pepper and about two dozen more “re-nurseried” figures. Against patterned or spray-painted backgrounds, an entire page of umbrella-carrying raindrops float down, a bunch of mice run up (“the clock struck one; / the rest had fun”), cats fiddle for Old King Coal and others, Jack B. Nimble makes a lifelong career out of demonstrating his one trick and a closing rendition of the counting rhyme “One, Two, I Lost My Shoe” is transformed into a clever reprise as many of the characters return to take final bows. Sparkles on the cover; chuckles (despite some lame rhyming) throughout. (Fractured nursery rhymes. 7-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-8118-6882-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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An uplifting feline tale with bumpy rhymes; well suited for families looking for Nativity stories.


A kitten dreams of being part of the original Christmas story in this rhyming picture book.

A kitten named Jordan lives with his brothers, sisters, and aunt in a small town in a valley. As Christmas Eve approaches, the kittens have hung their mittens, hoping for gifts from Santa Claws. Jordan can’t sleep, wondering about the best present he’ll get, but when he finally dozes off, he dreams of being present at the birth of Jesus. Snuggling with the Christ child, Jordan watches others give gifts and worries that he has nothing to contribute until Mary assures him: “Your gift was your purr, / Your adornment for my babe, / and the warmth of your fur.” When Jordan wakes, he realizes that the best gift isn’t a thing; it’s a small kindness given out of love. This sweet message is likely to appeal to young churchgoers who celebrate the religious parts of Christmas. The small, uncredited, traditional illustrations feature friendly-looking felines done in a childlike style. The diverse humans are shown as shapes rather than detailed figures, much like the pieces in a Nativity scene. Terrell’s rhyme scheme changes regularly, with the patterns varying in the different stanzas, which can make the scansion hard to follow. The accessible vocabulary, with only a few difficult words (crocheted, sublime), makes the poetry accessible to independent readers, especially those already familiar with the Christmas story.

An uplifting feline tale with bumpy rhymes; well suited for families looking for Nativity stories.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-973690-82-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2021

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