Top-notch medical care in an equally terrific early reader that will appeal to preschoolers, new readers of all ages and...

ITSY BITSY SPIDER

From the Urgency Emergency! series

This delightful early reader is one of the first entries in the irresistibly named Urgency Emergency! series that combines nursery-rhyme characters, a medical setting and deadpan humor.

Dr. Glenda the dog and Nurse Percy the rooster are on duty at City Hospital when Miss Muffet (a cat) arrives, escorting an injured spider to the emergency room for treatment of a head injury. Poor Itsy Bitsy “was just climbing up the waterspout” when a flood of rainwater knocked her down. Each step of Itsy’s treatment is carefully and simply described, from evaluation of her cognitive status to the stitching of her wound and arrangements for further care from Miss Muffet. Dr. Glenda is calm and in control, and Nurse Percy is compassionate and kind, holding “all of Itsy’s hands.” Although the approach is humorous, this clever effort is a concise, step-by-step description of the procedure of getting stitches at the hospital, an experience common to many families with young children. Appealing cartoon-style illustrations on yellow backgrounds clearly illustrate the medical procedures and add to the characters’ personalities with expressive faces for all the animals, even Itsy Bitsy. The gender-role defiance exemplified by Dr. Glenda and Nurse Percy’s relationship is an added bonus.

Top-notch medical care in an equally terrific early reader that will appeal to preschoolers, new readers of all ages and anyone else who appreciates droll humor and an inventive plot. (Early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8075-8358-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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Empathetic art and lyrical text blend for a touching and empowering tale.

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AARON SLATER, ILLUSTRATOR

From the Questioneers series

The latest book in the Questioneer series centers an African American boy who has dyslexia.

Roberts’ characteristic cartoon illustrations open on a family of six that includes two mothers of color, children of various abilities and racial presentations, and two very amused cats. In a style more expressive and stirring than other books in the series, Beaty presents a boy overcoming insecurities related to reading comprehension. Like Harlem Renaissance artist Aaron Douglas, the boy’s namesake, the protagonist loves to draw. More than drawing, however, young Aaron wishes to write, but when he tries to read, the letters appear scrambled (effectively illustrated with a string of wobbly, often backward letters that trail across the pages). The child retreats into drawing. After an entire school year of struggle, Aaron decides to just “blend in.” At the beginning of the next school year, a writing prompt from a new teacher inspires Aaron, who spends his evening attempting to write “a story. Write something true.” The next day in class, having failed to put words on paper, Aaron finds his voice and launches into a story that shows how “beauty and kindness and loving and art / lend courage to all with a welcoming heart.” In the illustration, a tableau of colorful mythological beings embodies Aaron’s tale. The text is set in a dyslexia-friendly type. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Empathetic art and lyrical text blend for a touching and empowering tale. (author's note, illustrator's note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-5396-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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A surprisingly nuanced lesson set in confidence-building, easy-to-decode text.

BO'S MAGICAL NEW FRIEND

From the Unicorn Diaries series , Vol. 1

A unicorn learns a friendship lesson in this chapter-book series opener.

Unicorn Bo has friends but longs for a “bestie.” Luckily, a new unicorn pops into existence (literally: Unicorns appear on especially starry nights) and joins Bo at the Sparklegrove School for Unicorns, where they study things like unicorn magic. Each unicorn has a special power; Bo’s is granting wishes. Not knowing what his own might be distresses new unicorn Sunny. When the week’s assignment is to earn a patch by using their unicorn powers to help someone, Bo hopes Sunny will wish to know Bo's power (enabling both unicorns to complete the task, and besides, Bo enjoys Sunny’s company and wants to help him). But when the words come out wrong, Sunny thinks Bo was feigning friendship to get to grant a wish and earn a patch, setting up a fairly sophisticated conflict. Bo makes things up to Sunny, and then—with the unicorns friends again and no longer trying to force their powers—arising circumstances enable them to earn their patches. The cheerful illustrations feature a sherbet palette, using patterns for texture; on busy pages with background colors similar to the characters’ color schemes, this combines with the absence of outlines to make discerning some individual characters a challenge. The format, familiar to readers of Elliott’s Owl Diaries series, uses large print and speech bubbles to keep pages to a manageable amount of text.

A surprisingly nuanced lesson set in confidence-building, easy-to-decode text. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-32332-0

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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