Lovely, lively, and enchanting for new and veteran explorers alike.



A young girl journeys as far as her imagination can take her in search of something to bring to show and tell.

“Rose longed to be an explorer, a pioneer, a trailblazer. / Her heart was set on discovering something that had never been found… / …to bring to show-and-tell.” Her journey is a daunting one since she does not know where to find such a treasure—or even if it exists at all—but Rose has a brilliant strategy that starts with making a map with her imagination as a guide. First her hand-drawn road map takes her to the beach, then a similar sky map leads her right up through the exosphere. Next, an ocean map helps her navigate the high seas, and finally a railroad map takes her all the way to the very last train stop—all to no avail. Marcero makes excellent use of the picture book as a storytelling vehicle. Bright, open illustrations deftly capture Rose’s quest with landscapes that effortlessly dismantle the supposed opposition between the real and the imaginary. Alongside them, simple sentences move younger readers through page turns, including Rose’s maps presented in vibrant double spreads, as anticipation gently builds and delightfully resolves with Rose’s realization that her journey (and her maps!) is more than perfect for show and tell. That Rose is a girl of color simply makes the book all the sweeter.

Lovely, lively, and enchanting for new and veteran explorers alike. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-56176-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught...


A child struggles with the worry and anxiety that come with an unexpected problem.

In a wonderful balance of text and pictures, the team responsible for What Do You Do With an Idea (2014) returns with another book inspiring children to feel good about themselves. A child frets about a problem that won’t go away: “I wished it would just disappear. I tried everything I could to hide from it. I even found ways to disguise myself. But it still found me.” The spare, direct narrative is accompanied by soft gray illustrations in pencil and watercolor. The sepia-toned figure of the child is set apart from the background and surrounded by lots of white space, visually isolating the problem, which is depicted as a purple storm cloud looming overhead. Color is added bit by bit as the storm cloud grows and its color becomes more saturated. With a backpack and umbrella, the child tries to escape the problem while the storm swirls, awash with compass points scattered across the pages. The pages brighten into splashes of yellow as the child decides to tackle the problem head-on and finds that it holds promise for unlooked-for opportunity.

A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught situations, this belongs on the shelf alongside Molly Bang’s Sophie books. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-943-20000-9

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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A sweet and far-from-cloying ode to love.


A mysterious love letter brightens the lives of three forest animals.

Appealing mixed-media illustrations made of ink, gouache, brush marker, and colored pencil combine with a timely message that one kind act can start a chain reaction of kindness. When Hedgehog, Bunny, and Squirrel stumble in turn upon a formally composed love letter, each finds their life improved: Squirrel is less anxious, Bunny spreads goodwill through helpfulness, and Hedgehog is unusually cheerful. As the friends converge to try to discover who sent the letter, the real author appears in a (rather) convenient turn: a mouse who wrote an ode to the moon. Though disappointed that the letter was never meant for them, the friends reflect that the letter still made the world a happier place, making it a “wonderful mix-up.” Since there’s a lot of plot to follow, the book will best serve more-observant readers who are able to piece the narrative cleanly, but those older readers may also better appreciate the special little touches, such as the letter’s enticing, old-fashioned typewriter-style look, vignettes that capture small moments, or the subdued color palette that lends an elegant air. Drawn with minimalist, scribbly lines, the creatures achieve an invigorating balance between charming and spontaneous, with smudged lines that hint at layers of fur and simple, dotted facial expressions.

A sweet and far-from-cloying ode to love. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-274157-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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