In this wet and wordless adventure, a button-nosed little boy makes a cake with his mother, gets messy and needs a bath. He sulks, his dream of cake dissapointingly deferred. But his bath proves more interesting than he thought when a few fish leap around and draw his attention underneath the bubbly surface. The boy discovers a magical sea world and a map that leads him to a treasure chest. Then, in a humourous twist, he sees the chest is not filled with “treasure,” but shampoo. After an orange octopus gives him a good wash, he finds his mother waiting at the surface with a towel and eventually that piece of just-baked cake. Though some readers might feel a bit let down by finding only bath products in the chest, the cake makes up for it and so does Andreasen’s cuddly, expressive artwork. The visual narrative is clear enough for the very young, yet complex enough for slightly older audiences. A playful bedtime treat, especially for those too fidgety for text-heavy tales. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-8050-8686-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2009


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


Simple, nicely drawn, and a friendly toast to the imagination.

A charming wordless tale about a magical red book and two unnamed children.

One child (quietly androgynous though called a girl by the flap copy) finds a red book lying in the city snow. She brings it to school and opens it to find a map of a warm island somewhere far away. Through a series of frames, the picture zooms in to show her a child on that island, also finding a red book (buried in the sand) and viewing the first child’s snowy city. Now his pictures zoom in and he finds her looking at him in the book and then out through the classroom window. They can see each other! After school, a purchase of many balloons carries the city child off to the island to meet her new friend who sees that she’s left the city and then, there she is—as seen in her book lying on the city sidewalk where she’s dropped it. As it closes, a new city child, who will presumably have an adventure too, picks it up.

Simple, nicely drawn, and a friendly toast to the imagination. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2004

ISBN: 978-0-618-42858-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2004

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