The pride of a young boy who is growing up just like his daddy is evident in this look at their closeness. Clouds nap on this father’s shoulders, birds nest in his hair and his hurricane sneezes blow the water in the sea away. The boy perfectly captures the perspective of young readers, to whom most adults are giants. This particular giant may make the earth tremble with his running, but children need not fear—how many true giants would stoop to playing marbles, knowing they will lose each time? The son sums it up nicely when he says, “I’m not scared of anything when I’m in my daddy’s arms.” Muted colors, blurred details and few distractions in the background bring the reader’s focus to facial expressions, which, although subtle, do make the bond between father and son that much more apparent. The matching cowlicks in their red hair help, too. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 23, 2005

ISBN: 0-618-44399-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2005


An inviting look at the first day of school in Miss Bindergarten's class. The simple rhyming text tells how the animal children get ready for the big event; as a bonus, the names of the students are listed alphabetically, each first letter corresponding to its animal type (Jessie is a jaguar, Zak is a zebra, etc.): ``Gwen McGunny/packs her bunny./Henry Fetter/fights his sweater.'' The procession is interspersed with the preparations of Miss Bindergarten, aided by her pet cockatoo, in her classroom. Wolff's fine illustrations add texture to a fairly simple concept. The teacher is depicted as an efficient sheepdog; eager and organized, she tapes notes on her furniture reminding her to ``have fun,'' yet forgets to take the price tag off her dress. The use of extinct animals for the more obscure letters only adds to the fun. In this soothing introduction to an anxiety-filled event, Slate (Who Is Coming to Our House?, 1988, etc.) makes the first day a pleasure for everyone involved. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-525-45446-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1996


From the Big Bright Feelings series

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance.

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