Might incite some sympathy scratching but worth inclusion in most collections.

READ REVIEW

WHAT'S BUGGING NURSE PENNY?

A STORY ABOUT LICE

What is wrong with Nurse Penny?

Nurse Penny is a fantastic school nurse. She makes student patients feel better with a fist pump and a “Eureka!…We’ll banish this trouble in no time!” One day, however, when Max, Tessa and Van are awaiting treatment, they notice Nurse Penny’s usual smile has deserted her. They cheer her up, and that cheer gives her an idea that leads to a surprise all-school assembly about…lice. Nurse Penny lectures the whole school on lice: What they are, where they come from and how to get rid of them. She emphasizes that getting lice is not a sign of a dirty lifestyle and that anyone can get them…even a school nurse! She leaves to treat her problem, and on her return, Max and the other students have an artistic surprise for Nurse Penny. Though not nearly as ebullient as David Shannon’s Bugs in My Hair! (2013), Stier’s informational picture book is entertaining without being glib or foolish; it is an interesting-enough story as well as good instruction for prevention or bibliotherapy for those infected. Beaky’s expressive and bright cartoon illustrations, mostly full-bleed, feature a multicultural cast and complement the text nicely. A page of lice facts follows the story.

Might incite some sympathy scratching but worth inclusion in most collections. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8075-8803-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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Precious—but timely and comforting all the same.

WHILE WE CAN'T HUG

From the Hedgehog and Tortoise Story series

The two creatures who fulfilled each other’s yearning for physical contact in The Hug (2019) find alternative ways to connect in a time of social distancing.

Blushing and smiling and looking every bit as sweet as they did in their original meet-cute, Hedgehog and Tortoise respond to Owl’s reassurance that “there are lots of ways to show someone you love them” by standing on opposing pages and sending signals, letters, dances, air kisses, and songs across the gutter. Demonstrating their mutual love and friendship, they regard each other fondly across the gap through sun and storm, finally gesturing air hugs beneath a rainbow of colors and stars. “They could not touch. / They could not hug. // But they both knew / that they were loved.” In line with the minimalist narrative and illustrations there is no mention of the enforced separation’s cause nor, aside from the titular conjunction, any hint of its possible duration. Still, its core affirmation is delivered in a simple, direct, unmistakable way, and if the thematic connection with the previous outing seems made to order for a marketing opportunity, it does address a widespread emotional need in young (and maybe not so young) audiences. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9.8-by-19.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 78% of actual size.)

Precious—but timely and comforting all the same. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-5713-6558-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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DIRTBALL PETE

Visually, Dirtball Pete is a charmer—a begrimed lad with a thatch of unruly hair, a crooked smile and button eyes as black as tar. He wears his dirt well, and even when his mother scrubs him squeaky clean in preparation for a school recital he is still cherubic, though every reader will know it won’t take long for Pete to look like he was used as a chimney brush. Brennan’s text is likewise pleasing, with an idiosyncratic beat: “With one final tidying, then a big kiss, then a quick swipe of a tissue to remove the kiss, then one last smoothing of his hair…” But somewhere along the line the story gets left behind. Pete’s a dirtball, Pete gets cleaned to give his public presentation, Pete gets dirty but still gives his recital, Pete gets a big round of applause because he talks the loudest. Being loud doesn’t follow in any sense from his grunginess, nor does it add to Pete’s persona. Introduced so late in the proceedings, it’s like the author threw a little water on our hero, muddying his heart-robbing filthiness. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-375-83425-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2010

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