Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Next book


An imaginative, quirky tale about perseverance and the importance of patience.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

A young inventor’s negative words manifest as monsters in this picture book.

Sammy, who has brown skin and purple hair, loves crafting gizmos but gets frustrated when the outcome isn’t successful. After she gets zapped turning on her latest device, Sammy utters discouraging words, which create a “Thought Monster,” a scowling creature who generates chaos in her workshop. When Sammy’s invention malfunctions, sparking earthquakelike shaking, she voices self-deprecating statements—including “I’m not smart enough!”—causing more monsters to emerge. Sammy mulls quitting but finds inspiration when she reads a note of encouragement she had written to herself on the gadget’s blueprint. After she acknowledges that pessimism prevents her from “becoming an amazing inventor” and that mistakes are an inevitable part of the process, the monsters disappear. Soon, Sammy’s diligence and dedication pay off; the gizmo (a piece to a rocketlike contraption) works perfectly. Spotlighting a spirited, young protagonist, Pedersen’s tale deftly encourages youngsters to persist in their creative pursuits even when things get tough. The personification of negative talk as a troublemaking monster is clever and kid-friendly. Sammy’s experience emphasizes how treating yourself with kindness and compassion aids in success. Neipp’s bold, full-color cartoon illustrations offer vibrant scenes of the treehouse workshop filled with gadgets and amusing details like Sammy’s teddy-bear sidekick. Dialogue and active words like BOOMand PLOPare enlarged and integrated into the scenes. Shapes, lines, and squiggles indicate movement, emotions, and sounds.

An imaginative, quirky tale about perseverance and the importance of patience.

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

ISBN: 979-8-9852460-0-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Manuscript

Review Posted Online: March 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

Next book


From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2019

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

Close Quickview