Great for sharing with parents’ own baddies and fairy-tale lovers alike.

READ REVIEW

GOOD NIGHT, BADDIES

Fairy tales and fractured fairy tales always focus on the good guys (or reform the bad guys). Finally, here’s a sweet bedtime story featuring the baddies.

There is not a hint of menace in either Underwood’s gently rhyming verse or Kangas’ beautifully detailed watercolor-and–oil wash illustrations. “Sun dips down; the day has gone. / Witches, wolves, and giants yawn. / Queen and dragon, troll and gnome: / tired baddies head for home.” Home is a stone castle, where they catch up on news, share a meal together (using good manners—even baddies need a break from being bad), undress and unwind from the day, and tuck one another in. It is both refreshing and comforting to know that baddies, no matter how vile they may be during the day, are human (-ish) at heart and have the same needs, wants, and fears as readers (sometimes literally—Giant is afraid a princess might lurk under his bed). (All the humanoid characters are white.) From striped and flowered pajamas to troll’s bubble bath and the books so many of the baddies are clearly enjoying, this is familiar and sweet, unlike baddies’ usual reputations, and children will delight in picking out familiar props and characters from beloved tales.

Great for sharing with parents’ own baddies and fairy-tale lovers alike. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 17, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-0984-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

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This seemingly simple tale packs a satisfying emotional punch. Scarily good! (Picture book. 4-7)

LOVE MONSTER

Monster lives in Cutesville, where he feels his googly eyes make him unlovable, especially compared to all the “cute, fluffy” kittens, puppies and bunnies. He goes off to find someone who will appreciate him just the way he is…with funny and heartwarming results.

A red, scraggly, pointy-eared, arm-dragging monster with a pronounced underbite clutches his monster doll to one side of his chest, exposing a purplish blue heart on the other. His oversized eyes express his loneliness. Bright could not have created a more sympathetic and adorable character. But she further impresses with the telling of this poor chap’s journey. Since Monster is not the “moping-around sort,” he strikes out on his own to find someone who will love him. “He look[s] high” from on top of a hill, and “he look[s] low” at the bottom of the same hill. The page turn reveals a rolling (and labeled) tumbleweed on a flat stretch. Here “he look[s] middle-ish.” Careful pacing combines with dramatic design and the deadpan text to make this sad search a very funny one. When it gets dark and scary, he decides to head back home. A bus’s headlights shine on his bent figure. All seems hopeless—until the next page surprises, with a smiling, orange monster with long eyelashes and a pink heart on her chest depicted at the wheel. And “in the blink of a googly eye / everything change[s].”

This seemingly simple tale packs a satisfying emotional punch. Scarily good! (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 31, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-374-34646-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

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Nicely juxtaposes the negative what-ifs with a great list of positives and just may lead nervous readers to do the same.

BACK TO SCHOOL WITH BIGFOOT

Bigfoot’s body and feet may be larger than most, but his worries, though they feel monumental to him, will be familiar to grade schoolers.

Sure, back-to-school shopping for Bigfoot is a royal pain. Even the big-and-tall store doesn’t have clothes that fit, and forget about buying shoes in a regular store—and a haircut takes the entire day when you are covered in the stuff. But his what-ifs will not be new to kids: what if the bus doesn’t stop for him? What if he makes a mistake at lunch? His imaginative scenarios are enough for him to quit school before it even starts. But then he thinks of all the things about school he would miss—the best teacher in school, studying mythological creatures, his friends—and some positive possibilities: a field trip, art projects. It’s enough to change his mind again, and the last page sees Bigfoot and his much-smaller friends entering the school. Pressler’s seemingly digital illustrations will have readers in stitches as they see Bigfoot in the dressing room in his orange-and-pink polka-dot undies or watch as a kid almost drowns in all the hair on the floor at the barber shop. And for cryptozoology-savvy adults, there’s the page about Bigfoot’s school-picture-day worry: “What if I can’t stand still for class pictures? AGAIN!”

Nicely juxtaposes the negative what-ifs with a great list of positives and just may lead nervous readers to do the same. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 27, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-85973-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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