This misses the riotous humor and innocent naughtiness that make Olivia and Eloise such delicious fun.

READ REVIEW

I WANT TO HELP!

Emily Pearl, that not-so-helpful but very independent girl, is back in her second outing, this time “helping” at school.

Emily Pearl goes to school and can do lots of things—count to 14, write her name and hit a home run. But as in I Can Do It Myself! (2009), while the gentle rhyming verse brags about all of her accomplishments, Hayashi’s watercolor, pen and colored-pencil illustrations reveal that her efforts are not always successful or welcome. Yes, she can do the monkey bars two at a time, but it involves pushing other kids off. Yes, she can neatly stack the blocks…after she causes her classmates’ creation to tumble. Indeed, she is often the cause of the mishaps and chaos that she is so anxious to help with. While Emily Pearl’s previous outing was charming in its simplicity and its snapshot of a too-true phase in every child’s life, this one is not as successful. Emily Pearl is obviously older and so should be a little more clued-in about the effect her actions have on other people; readers scanning her classmates’ faces will know immediately that Emily is not always appreciated by kids or adults, but those who don’t pay attention to facial expressions and the small details may not get the point of the book at all.

This misses the riotous humor and innocent naughtiness that make Olivia and Eloise such delicious fun. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-56145-630-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: July 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2012

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Fun, fun, fun all through the town!

THE HIPS ON THE DRAG QUEEN GO SWISH, SWISH, SWISH

This book’s gonna werk, werk, werk all through Pride Month and beyond.

Drag persona Lil Miss Hot Mess rewrites “The Wheels on the Bus” to create a fun, movement-filled, family-friendly celebration of drag. The text opens with the titular verse to establish the familiar song’s formulaic pattern: “The hips on the drag queen go SWISH, SWISH, SWISH… / ALL THROUGH THE TOWN!” Along the way, more and more drag queens join in the celebration. The unnamed queens proudly display a range of skin tones, sizes, and body modifications to create a diverse cast of realistic characters that could easily be spotted at a Pride event or on RuPaul’s Drag Race. The palette of both costumes and backgrounds is appropriately psychedelic, and there are plenty of jewels going “BLING, BLING, BLING.” Don’t tell the queens, but the flow is the book’s real star, because it encourages natural kinetic participation that will have groups of young readers giggling and miming along with the story. Libraries and bookshops hosting drag-queen storytimes will find this a popular choice, and those celebrating LGBTQ+ heritage will also find this a useful book for the pre-K crowd. Curious children unfamiliar with a drag queen may require a brief explanation, but the spectacle stands up just fine on its own platforms.

Fun, fun, fun all through the town! (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6765-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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A lightweight fear-dispeller, without the gun violence that now makes Mercer Mayer’s There’s a Nightmare in My Closet (1968)...

MONSTERS AREN'T REAL

Beaten down by a ubiquitous chorus of denials (see title), a monster suffers an existential crisis.

Surrounded by emphatic claims that it doesn’t even exist, a monster sets out not only to prove the contrary, but to establish its scariness credentials too. Alas, neither blasting the world with graffiti and printed fliers nor rearing up menacingly over a baby in a carriage, children at the barre in a ballet class and other supposedly susceptible victims elicits any response. Juggling some cows attracts attention but not the terrified kind. But the monster’s final despairing surrender—“That’s it! It’s over! I give up! ... /  Monsters aren’t real (sniff)”—triggers an indignant denial of a different sort from a second, smaller but wilder-looking, creature. It takes the first in hand and leads it off, declaring “We’re two big, strong, scary monsters, and we’ll prove it.” In truth, it won’t escape even very young readers that neither is particularly scary-looking. Indeed, the protagonist-monster is depicted in the sparsely detailed cartoon illustrations as a furry, almost cuddly, bearlike hulk with light-blue spots, antlers and comically googly eyes, certain to provoke more giggles than screams.

A lightweight fear-dispeller, without the gun violence that now makes Mercer Mayer’s There’s a Nightmare in My Closet (1968) so discomfiting. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-61067-073-9

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2012

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