With no takeaway lesson and little to hold readers’ interest, this is one stone to skip.

READ REVIEW

JEROME THE STONE

A stone who dreams of flight gets his wish.

An anthropomorphized stone who sports a jaunty acorn-cap hat observes the world around him and wishes he could see and do the things others do. But unlike the insects all around him—the hopping grasshoppers, the marching ants, the buzzing bees—Jerome knows he cannot even move on his own. (In a funny sequence of vignettes, he exerts great effort, but only his facial features move.) But then, “Without any warning, Jerome was soaring through the air,” kicked by a boy who then stows the rock in his pocket. Readers—and Jerome—quickly learn the boy’s intent, as he places Jerome just so, pulls back, and lets fly with a slingshot. Jerome’s flight is marvelous, though impossible with regard to the rules of physics; he ends up in space before coming back to Earth to hit a bullseye (hat still on) and wonder what tomorrow will bring. The simplistic cartoon illustrations don’t seem tailored for the same audience as the wordy, pedestrian text. Moreover, as a character, Jerome is literally inert; his only arc is his flight, and readers will wonder what the overall point is. The perspective changes and Jerome’s expressive face really put readers in his shoes, uhmmm, hat, though.

With no takeaway lesson and little to hold readers’ interest, this is one stone to skip. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73277-132-1

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Doodle and Peck Publishing

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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Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children.

THE NIGHT IS YOURS

On hot summer nights, Amani’s parents permit her to go outside and play in the apartment courtyard, where the breeze is cool and her friends are waiting.

The children jump rope to the sounds of music as it floats through a neighbor’s window, gaze at stars in the night sky, and play hide-and-seek in the moonlight. It is in the moonlight that Amani and her friends are themselves found by the moon, and it illumines the many shades of their skin, which vary from light tan to deep brown. In a world where darkness often evokes ideas of evil or fear, this book is a celebration of things that are dark and beautiful—like a child’s dark skin and the night in which she plays. The lines “Show everyone else how to embrace the night like you. Teach them how to be a night-owning girl like you” are as much an appeal for her to love and appreciate her dark skin as they are the exhortation for Amani to enjoy the night. There is a sense of security that flows throughout this book. The courtyard is safe and homelike. The moon, like an additional parent, seems to be watching the children from the sky. The charming full-bleed illustrations, done in washes of mostly deep blues and greens, make this a wonderful bedtime story.

Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55271-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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