A wonderfully insouciant approach to taking care of those pesky critters that lurk in closets. When Wanda cowers in fear of the monster she’s sure inhabits her closet, her family tries the traditional methods of allaying her fears. Yet Dad shines a light inside, Mom does a thorough cleaning, and her older brother scoffs at her concerns, to no avail. It’s Granny who helps Wanda see things in a different light. Granny believes there just might be a monster hiding inside Wanda’s closet and she cautions her to feel sympathy instead of fear for the poor little guy; after all, she reveals, monsters are notoriously shy. Granny’s unique perspective enables Wanda to overcome her worries. Soon she’s tossing toys, pillows, and other creature comforts into the closet for her resident monster. When it’s time for the monster to move on—Granny advises they only stay for 17 days—Wanda is ready, too. Spinelli (Here Comes the Year, p. 265, etc.) addresses a common childhood dilemma with panache and wit. Fearful closet-phobes will soon be longing for a monster of their own to pamper. Hayashi’s (What Did You Do Today, p. 486, etc.) watercolor-and-pencil illustrations strike just the right balance between pragmatism and whimsy. Vibrantly colored vignettes depicting familiar domestic scenes are juxtaposed with delightfully quirky depictions of a purple, horned, long-nosed, and rather pitiful-looking monster sequestered in the closet. A must for chasing away those nighttime jitters with a hearty dose of giggles. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-8075-8656-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2002


Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity.

A collection of parental wishes for a child.

It starts out simply enough: two children run pell-mell across an open field, one holding a high-flying kite with the line “I wish you more ups than downs.” But on subsequent pages, some of the analogous concepts are confusing or ambiguous. The line “I wish you more tippy-toes than deep” accompanies a picture of a boy happily swimming in a pool. His feet are visible, but it's not clear whether he's floating in the deep end or standing in the shallow. Then there's a picture of a boy on a beach, his pockets bulging with driftwood and colorful shells, looking frustrated that his pockets won't hold the rest of his beachcombing treasures, which lie tantalizingly before him on the sand. The line reads: “I wish you more treasures than pockets.” Most children will feel the better wish would be that he had just the right amount of pockets for his treasures. Some of the wordplay, such as “more can than knot” and “more pause than fast-forward,” will tickle older readers with their accompanying, comical illustrations. The beautifully simple pictures are a sweet, kid- and parent-appealing blend of comic-strip style and fine art; the cast of children depicted is commendably multiethnic.

Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4521-2699-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015


Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your dreads! Isadora once again plies her hand using colorful, textured collages to depict her fourth fairy tale relocated to Africa. The narrative follows the basic story line: Taken by an evil sorceress at birth, Rapunzel is imprisoned in a tower; Rapunzel and the prince “get married” in the tower and she gets pregnant. The sorceress cuts off Rapunzel’s hair and tricks the prince, who throws himself from the tower and is blinded by thorns. The terse ending states: “The prince led Rapunzel and their twins to his kingdom, where they were received with great joy and lived happily every after.” Facial features, clothing, dreadlocks, vultures and the prince riding a zebra convey a generic African setting, but at times, the mixture of patterns and textures obfuscates the scenes. The textile and grain characteristic of the hewn art lacks the elegant romance of Zelinksy’s Caldecott version. Not a first purchase, but useful in comparing renditions to incorporate a multicultural aspect. (Picture book/fairy tale. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-399-24772-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2008

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