Little sibs unite and distinguish yourselves! A nice lesson for kids who sometimes get lost in the shuffle.

Educator Mentzel and her sister, Tony Award–winning actor Menzel, tell the story of a little rodent attempting to get out of her superstar sibling’s shadow.

As made clear in Loud Mouse (2022), Dee’s a talented singer with a powerful set of lungs. Soft-spoken little sis Cara Lee is a different kind of rodent, but she utterly adores her older sister. Cara Lee is delighted to finally start school. But as the day wears on, she must continually field questions from well-intentioned adults about whether she can sing or play tennis like Dee. By the end, she’s confused and frustrated but determined to figure herself out. On her own, she realizes that she may be like her sister a little, but she’s her own person, and she’s not afraid to say so. Any younger sibling faced with a barrage of teachers who keep bringing up their older siblings will be able to identify with Cara Lee’s struggle. And while her tale may not divulge any particularly scintillating insights, there’s a comfort in recognition. As before, the middling messaging is helped considerably by art that gives weight and personality to the characters. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Little sibs unite and distinguish yourselves! A nice lesson for kids who sometimes get lost in the shuffle. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023

ISBN: 9781368080996

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023


A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies.

Pigeon finds something better to drive than some old bus.

This time it’s Santa delivering the fateful titular words, and with a “Ho. Ho. Whoa!” the badgering begins: “C’mon! Where’s your holiday spirit? It would be a Christmas MIRACLE! Don’t you want to be part of a Christmas miracle…?” Pigeon is determined: “I can do Santa stuff!” Like wrapping gifts (though the accompanying illustration shows a rather untidy present), delivering them (the image of Pigeon attempting to get an oversize sack down a chimney will have little ones giggling), and eating plenty of cookies. Alas, as Willems’ legion of young fans will gleefully predict, not even Pigeon’s by-now well-honed persuasive powers (“I CAN BE JOLLY!”) will budge the sleigh’s large and stinky reindeer guardian. “BAH. Also humbug.” In the typically minimalist art, the frustrated feathered one sports a floppily expressive green and red elf hat for this seasonal addition to the series—but then discards it at the end for, uh oh, a pair of bunny ears. What could Pigeon have in mind now? “Egg delivery, anyone?”

A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781454952770

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023


Sentimental but effective.

A book aimed at easing separation anxiety and reinforcing bonds.

Twins Liza and Jeremy awaken during a thunderstorm and go to their mother for comfort. She reassures them that they’re safe and says, “You know we’re always together, no matter what,” when they object to returning to bed. She then explains that when she was a child her mother told her about the titular “Invisible String,” encouraging them to envision it as a link between them no matter what. “People who love each other are always connected by a very special String made of love,” she tells them, reinforcing this idea as they proceed to imagine various scenarios, fantastic and otherwise, that might cause them to be separated in body. She also affirms that this string can “reach all the way to Uncle Brian in heaven” and that it doesn’t go away if she’s angry with them or when they have conflicts. As they go to bed, reassured, the children, who present white, imagine their friends and diverse people around the world connected with invisible strings, promoting a vision of global unity and empathy. While the writing often feels labored and needlessly repetitive, Lew-Vriethoff’s playful cartoon art enhances and lightens the message-driven text, which was originally published in 2000 with illustrations by Geoff Stevenson.

Sentimental but effective. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-48623-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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