Next book



An engaging family tale with eye-catching illustrations.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

In this debut picture book, a young boy fears the shadows and shapes in his dark house until his father comforts him.

When Obi’s mother forgets to turn on his night light, the house seems very dark and scary. A light inside the boy’s closet convinces him there are monsters inside. After Obi goes into the hall to call for his mother, the shadows chase him back under the covers. Thumping on the stairs makes Obi think that a giant is after him. Luckily, Daddy comes in to soothe his nerves and shows him there’s nothing to fear. Daddy also tells him: “Even though you were scared, you were super brave!” Obi goes to sleep feeling super but glad Daddy turned on his night light. A family prayer, verses of Scripture, and conversation prompts close out the end pages. In this fun tale, Okonkwo writes in simple sentences broken into paragraphs that frequently feature internal rhymes (bed, forehead, said). A few more challenging vocabulary words (mysterious, imagination) make this story appropriate for emergent readers, especially those who still get nervous in the dark. Obi’s understandable fears and growing confidence should comfort children who have had similar experiences. Veteran artist Hnatenko’s soft-edged images centering on an African American family capture Obi’s anxieties while showing how his imagination created the monsters. (One small, friendly-looking monster, which Obi has been drawing in art posted on his wall, shows up in the end pages.)

An engaging family tale with eye-catching illustrations.

Pub Date: Nov. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-73738-230-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Okonkwo Press, LLC

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2022

Next book


While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

Next book


The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

Close Quickview