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THE BOO-BOOS OF BLUEBELL ELEMENTARY

A wholesome and heartwarming ode to school nurses everywhere.

A day in the life of a busy school nurse.

After arriving by bike, beloved Miss Peatree, who is brown-skinned, begins her workday at Bluebell Elementary. Whistling, she unlocks her room with a big brass key, wipes the counters, sweeps, and more—each step with gusto!—as she sets up for the day ahead. Her first young patient visits her before classes even begin, proclaiming a tummy “full of grumbles.” Another, whose face is splattered with paint (“a catastrophe!”), barges in soon after. Next comes a loose tooth, then homesickness. There’s blood, snot, lice, a splinter, a paper cut, vomit, and injuries galore. The nurse’s office is practically a revolving door of children—and even one principal. A visitor log sidebar cleverly tracks each patient’s name (including repeat visitors), ailment, and status. Miss Peatree fixes up each and every person. But who takes care of Miss Peatree when she gets home? Farrell’s full-color art shines in its details, especially the hand-lettering that matches each patient’s mood and ailment. The characters’ histrionic facial expressions expertly complement Wallace’s humorous narrative. Endpapers feature bandages of various colors and skin tones, an inclusive touch for the diverse cast.

A wholesome and heartwarming ode to school nurses everywhere. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9781797210810

Page Count: 60

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2023

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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JUST TRY IT!

From the Phil & Lil Book series

Amusing but misleading on the nutritional and behavioral fronts.

With one taste of despised mustard, a child pivots from rejecting new foods to seeking them.

Dad takes Lil to a food truck festival. Lil, who narrates the story, is nervous; this child’s list of acceptable foods is short (pizza, rice, grilled cheese, french fries, and vanilla ice cream). Dad loves varied tastes and repeatedly reminds Lil of his rule: “Just try it!” With a “YECCCH!” or an “EWWWWWW!” Lil refuses a bagel loaded with toppings, linguini with clams, Peking duck, pizza with spinach and garlic, and a pretzel covered with Lil’s most hated of foods: mustard. Frustrated, Lil accidentally knocks the pretzel onto Dad’s shirt. Lil apologizes, takes a lick of mustard…and instantly learns to appreciate every rejected offering. Lil then uses the title mantra to pressure Dad onto a nausea-inducing roller-coaster ride. Bright, cartoon-style illustrations emphasize the pair's upbeat mood. Food neophobia, or an aversion to eating anything novel, has complex psychosocial roots. But in this blithe little fable, the child’s resistance is completely overcome with a single accidental exposure, and the formerly picky eater immediately becomes a novelty seeker. The turnaround here is implausible; if this book creates any expectations of a sudden dramatic change in a child’s behavior, that would be a disservice. Both Dad and Lil are light-skinned.

Amusing but misleading on the nutritional and behavioral fronts. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781665942638

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2023

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