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I FEEL SAFE

Storms can be scary, but this story wraps you in a warm hug.

A loving Black family snuggles in close during a storm.

Loud thunder rumbles through the sky. A youngster with an Afro and arms splayed wide jumps in fright. Mother rushes in to give a comforting squeeze. The first-person narrator contentedly sighs, “And I feel safe.” As the lightning flashes, the youngster’s father acknowledges, “It’s okay to be scared sometimes.” One more reassuring hug, and the narrator repeats, “And I feel safe.” Grandma lights candles when the lights go out, and Grandpa strums the guitar. Biscuits and hot cocoa reinforce feelings of warmth and security. But where are the pets? They are hiding from the storm, and it is now the child’s turn to help others feel safe. McPhail sets the vignettes against pale lilac and teal backdrops, softening the edges of the frames with a fuzzy, airbrushed effect. The refrain is calm and grounding, while the first-person point of view conveys closeness. McPhail shifts the perspective to the reader at the end, once all is quiet and everyone is tucked in bed, asking, “What makes you feel safe?" (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Storms can be scary, but this story wraps you in a warm hug. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-8234-5072-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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HOW TO CATCH A MAMASAURUS

From the How To Catch… series

A syrupy tribute to mothers that may please fans of the series.

Another creature is on the loose.

The long-running series continues its successful formula with this Hallmark card of a book, which features bright illustrations and catchy rhymes. This time, the mythical creature the racially diverse children set out to catch is an absent mom who does it all (lists of descriptors include the words banker, caregiver, nurse, doctor, driver, chef, housekeeper, teacher, entertainer, playmate, laundry service, problem solver, handywoman, cleaner, and alarm clock) but doesn’t seem to have a job outside the home and is inexplicably a dinosaur. As the children prepare gifts and a meal for her, the text becomes an ode to the skills the Mamasaurus possesses (“Day or night she’s always there. / She meets every wish and need”) and values she instills (“Sometimes life can mean hard work,” “kindness matters,” and “what counts is doing your best”). This well-intentioned selection veers into cliche generously sprinkled with saccharine but manages to redeem itself with its appreciation for mothers and all that they may do. Endpapers include a “to” and “from” page framed in a heart, as well as a page where young gift givers or recipients can draw a picture of their Mamasaurus.

A syrupy tribute to mothers that may please fans of the series. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 5, 2024

ISBN: 9781728274300

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2024

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WOO HOO! YOU'RE DOING GREAT!

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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