Next book


From the Sometimes When series

An empowering, soothing aid for children combatting worry.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

A child is guided by a loving family through ways to cope with worry in Serani’s picture book, part of the Sometimes When series.

The narrator, a child with wavy red hair and pink cheeks, notices that when they worry, sometimes they feel scared and can’t calm down. Daddy makes a suggestion: “He says I might feel calmer if I find something I can control.” Daddy offers a choice: belly breathing or counting to 10. The choice and the practice both make the child feel better. On each page, as the child expresses their worry, the family offers acceptance, choices, and encouragement, validating the narrator’s experiences and guiding them through it. The author, a psychologist and professor at Adelphi University, offers spare but fluid text that reflects a child’s perspective. The narrator’s family offers a supportive community at every turn, making the book reassuring for young readers. Lengthy text at the back guides caregivers on how to best support their worriers—and how to care for their own worries as part of that process. Teis’ highly-textured full-color paintings allow readers to sink into the scene; the pacing and presence of happy thoughts to contrast the worry make each page feel safe and comforting. The soft tone of both the text and illustrations gives the book the ambiance of a warm hug.

An empowering, soothing aid for children combatting worry.

Pub Date: June 27, 2023

ISBN: 9781631987373

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Free Spirit Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2023

Next book


Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own...

The sturdy Little Blue Truck is back for his third adventure, this time delivering Christmas trees to his band of animal pals.

The truck is decked out for the season with a Christmas wreath that suggests a nose between headlights acting as eyeballs. Little Blue loads up with trees at Toad’s Trees, where five trees are marked with numbered tags. These five trees are counted and arithmetically manipulated in various ways throughout the rhyming story as they are dropped off one by one to Little Blue’s friends. The final tree is reserved for the truck’s own use at his garage home, where he is welcomed back by the tree salestoad in a neatly circular fashion. The last tree is already decorated, and Little Blue gets a surprise along with readers, as tiny lights embedded in the illustrations sparkle for a few seconds when the last page is turned. Though it’s a gimmick, it’s a pleasant surprise, and it fits with the retro atmosphere of the snowy country scenes. The short, rhyming text is accented with colored highlights, red for the animal sounds and bright green for the numerical words in the Christmas-tree countdown.

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own tree that will put a twinkle in a toddler’s eyes. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-32041-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

Next book


A joyful celebration.

Families in a variety of configurations play, dance, and celebrate together.

The rhymed verse, based on a song from the Noodle Loaf children’s podcast, declares that “Families belong / Together like a puzzle / Different-sized people / One big snuggle.” The accompanying image shows an interracial couple of caregivers (one with brown skin and one pale) cuddling with a pajama-clad toddler with light brown skin and surrounded by two cats and a dog. Subsequent pages show a wide array of families with members of many different racial presentations engaging in bike and bus rides, indoor dance parties, and more. In some, readers see only one caregiver: a father or a grandparent, perhaps. One same-sex couple with two children in tow are expecting another child. Smart’s illustrations are playful and expressive, curating the most joyful moments of family life. The verse, punctuated by the word together, frequently set in oversized font, is gently inclusive at its best but may trip up readers with its irregular rhythms. The song that inspired the book can be found on the Noodle Loaf website.

A joyful celebration. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-22276-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Rise x Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

Close Quickview