A colorfully fun book that promotes team work, curiosity and the power of imagination.

READ REVIEW

BOUNCY THE SMART BALL

A chipper, all-knowing bouncing ball brings friendship and comfort to a group of suburban kids in the Bradshaw’s debut children’s book.

Devon resigns himself to another dreary day in the suburbs as he stands despondently in his yard. Then, out of the blue, a magical talking ball, which he names Bouncy, bounces in to offer a cheerful lift to his day and a desire to play. Devon befriends the ball and they begin an earnest investigation into the world around them, with Bouncy offering fun facts that delight Devon. He introduces Bouncy to his friends, Kate and Josh, both equally isolated and bored on their own. With unashamedly enthusiastic energy, the three begin to explore topics that run the gamut from facts about the White House to the definition of a noun and the five senses. Thanks to the knowledgeable ball, the children learn the seeds of philosophical and practical discussions in a story rounded with a racially diverse cast, which adds to the book’s open and inclusive tone. The appealing full-page illustrations by Guiza—they run nearly parallel the story but couldn’t quite serve as a standalone narrative due to a few missing frames—portray children in a world curiously free of adults, the implication being that they lack, at least for the afternoon, any sort of guidance, love and positivity in an otherwise slightly drab existence. So Bouncy saves the day for the bored kids. Surreally, only children can hear him. The story unexpectedly raises questions about creationism when the kids and Bouncy seek to discover Bouncy’s “beginnings.” The answer to that question is much bigger than this short, simple but delightful book—although it’s unclear if that journey, perhaps in a sequel, would take the kids to bible school or the ball plant.

A colorfully fun book that promotes team work, curiosity and the power of imagination.

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0983944409

Page Count: 26

Publisher: DPB Products

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2012

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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A treat to be savored—and a lesson learned—any time of year.

LOVE MONSTER AND THE LAST CHOCOLATE

From the Love Monster series

The surprised recipient of a box of chocolates agonizes over whether to eat the whole box himself or share with his friends.

Love Monster is a chocoholic, so when he discovers the box on his doorstep, his mouth waters just thinking about what might be inside; his favorite’s a double chocolate strawberry swirl. The brief thought that he should share these treats with his friends is easily rationalized away. Maybe there won’t be enough for everyone, perhaps someone will eat his favorite, or, even worse, leave him with his least favorite: the coffee one! Bright’s pacing and tone are on target throughout, her words conveying to readers exactly what the monster is thinking and feeling: “So he went into his house. And so did the box of chocolates…without a whisper of a word to anyone.” This is followed by a “queasy-squeezy” feeling akin to guilt and then by a full-tilt run to his friends, chocolates in hand, and a breathless, stream-of-consciousness confession, only to be brought up short by what’s actually in the box. And the moral is just right: “You see, sometimes it’s when you stop to think of others…that you start to find out just how much they think of you.” Monster’s wide eyes and toothy mouth convey his emotions wonderfully, and the simple backgrounds keep the focus on his struggle.

A treat to be savored—and a lesson learned—any time of year. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-00-754030-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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