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Emily Post might raise an eyebrow, but our hero is bound to find fast friends with ill-mannered readers everywhere.

What are manners without kindness? Or, for that matter, fart jokes?

Meet Ms. Elizabeth Picklepop IV. You are delighted to make her acquaintance. After taking her course on manners, readers will receive a certificate of completion. However, when blue-skinned Ms. Picklepop happens to drop an errant paint can, it results in an overly enthusiastic blue blot with eyes that becomes sentient. Every lesson Ms. Picklepop attempts to convey has the unfortunate consequence of attracting the attention of the creature, named Blurp (changing colors with every paint can they chug en route). Though well-intentioned and good-natured, Blurp causes massive paint-splotch–riddled chaos wherever they go, until finally Picklepop can take it no longer and becomes significantly less than well-mannered. Will she see the error of her ways? Derby’s natural inclination to play with paint like a child in a mud puddle comes fully to her aid here. Picklepop’s world is all hedgerows and elegant teas. The sheer, wild exuberance of Blurp comes, then, as a cathartic corrective. The great irony of the tale, of course, is that at the same time that Blurp is instigating a visual cacophony of colors, their manners are impeccable, if riddled with B’s (upon introducing themselves, Blurp says, “Bits bice boo beet boo”). (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Emily Post might raise an eyebrow, but our hero is bound to find fast friends with ill-mannered readers everywhere. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-81035-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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WOO-HOO! This is the perfect way to foster healthy self-esteem in little ones.

What’s better than a cheerleading chicken?

Are you ever blue, unsure, tired, or overworked? Do you ever feel lost or overwhelmed? This uplifting book, expressed in delightful, jaunty verse, explains how to lift your spirits pronto: What you need is a booster chicken telling you’re doing great even when you’re not so confident, as when you’re learning or practicing a new skill, for instance. Your feathered champion will be right there, encouraging you all the way, with a loud “WOO HOO!” that’ll keep you going and remove any doubt you’re super terrific. But what if your cheerful chick errs and doesn’t do what it set out to do? Don’t worry—your cheery chicken just needs a reminder that everyone makes mistakes. That alone is a pep talk, enhanced by the wisdom that making mistakes allows everyone to learn and demonstrate they did their best. So forgive yourself, chickens! But the best thing is…instead of relying on someone else—like a chicken—to strengthen your ego, say a generous daily “WOO HOO!” to yourself. This riotous book hits all the right notes and does so succinctly and hilariously. The energetic, comical illustrations, in Boynton’s signature style, will elicit giggles and go far to make the book’s important point. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

WOO-HOO! This is the perfect way to foster healthy self-esteem in little ones. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 4, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-316-48679-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2023

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From the Izzy Gizmo series

A disappointing follow-up.

Inventor Izzy Gizmo is back in this sequel to her eponymous debut (2017).

While busily inventing one day, Izzy receives an invitation from the Genius Guild to their annual convention. Though Izzy’s “inventions…don’t always work,” Grandpa (apparently her sole caregiver) encourages her to go. The next day they undertake a long journey “over fields, hills, and waves” and “mile after mile” to isolated Technoff Isle. There, Izzy finds she must compete against four other kids to create the most impressive machine. The colorful, detail-rich illustrations chronicle how poor Izzy is thwarted at every turn by Abi von Lavish, a Veruca Salt–esque character who takes all the supplies for herself. But when Abi abandons her project, Izzy salvages the pieces and decides to take Grandpa’s advice to create a machine that “can really be put to good use.” A frustrated Izzy’s impatience with a friend almost foils her chance at the prize, but all’s well that ends well. There’s much to like: Brown-skinned inventor girl Izzy is an appealing character, it’s great to see a nurturing brown-skinned male caregiver, the idea of an “Invention Convention” is fun, and a sustainable-energy invention is laudable. However, these elements don’t make up for rhymes that often feel forced and a lackluster story.

A disappointing follow-up. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68263-164-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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