A sweet celebration of the special touch that only a mother can give, though perhaps not memorable enough to become a...

A young girl counts the many kinds of Mommy Medicine that make her feel better when she’s down.

Whether she’s sick or simply sad, this brown-skinned girl with large, puffy hair can count on her mom to treat her to doses of Mommy Medicine. Mommy Medicine can feel like kisses, hugs, and massages, or it can taste like Popsicles, tea, or fruit. It can be bubbles, games, or “a whispered prayer, just before nodding off at nap time.” Songs, dances, playing make-believe, watching a movie, or drawing together—even taking “actual medicine, which might taste yummy or YUCKY”—are also possible remedies. The mother closely resembles the girl, and they cuddle, smile, and laugh together on pages full of digital illustrations that give the text just enough color to sustain the story’s momentum. Standout moments include the pair seated on the floor and staring at each other like card sharks over closely held hands of Uno cards, the child swaddled in a blanket, and another of the two of them laughing heartily while snuggling on the couch in front of a movie. Sensory details mark the text with moments of feel-good familiarity, but ultimately the ongoing descriptions add up to little in the way of story.

A sweet celebration of the special touch that only a mother can give, though perhaps not memorable enough to become a favorite. (author’s note) (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-14091-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018


Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022



So sweet it’ll have readers heading for their toothbrushes.

Another entry in the how-much-I-love-you genre.

The opening spread shows a blue elephant-and-child pair, the child atop the adult, white hearts arcing between their uplifted trunks: “You’re a gift and a blessing in every way. / I love you more each and every day.” From there, the adult elephant goes on to tell the child how they are loved more than all sorts of things, some rhyming better than others: “I love you more than all the spaghetti served in Rome, // and more than each and every dog loves her bone.” More than stars, fireflies, “all the languages spoken in the world,” “all the dancers that have ever twirled,” all the kisses ever given and miles ever driven, “all the adventures you have ahead,” and “all the peanut butter and jelly spread on bread!” Representative of all the world’s languages are “I love you” in several languages (with no pronunciation help): English, Sioux, French, German, Swahili, Spanish, Hawaiian, Chinese, and Arabic (these two last in Roman characters only). Bold colors and simple illustrations with no distracting details keep readers’ focus on the main ideas. Dashed lines give the artwork (and at least one word on every spread) the look of 2-D sewn toys.

So sweet it’ll have readers heading for their toothbrushes. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4926-8398-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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