An approachable, child-friendly guide to processing anxiety.

A feline worry solver gives her animal pals practical tools for coping.

The first day of school at Wildwood Elementary finds students both excited and a bit fearful. Hattie Harmony helps her friends with back-to-school butterflies, trepidation about participating in class, and school bus chaos. Whether it’s calmly taking deep breaths or squeezing a stress ball, Hattie’s advice could work for readers, too. Actress Olsen and husband and writing partner Arnett smartly include Hattie herself among the school worriers. And though she struggles with her fear, she whispers to herself, “Brave people don’t always feel brave inside”—wise words and a powerful reminder to readers. With the triumphant refrain, “Worry, worry, go away! There’s no time for you today!” each character uses a tool to deal with their anxiety. Hattie is adorable, with her large, wire-rimmed glasses and tool belt. The bright colors and scene-driven illustrations will draw readers into the world of Wildwood Elementary. A helpful ending note, “Tools Used in This Book,” further explains the four calming techniques Hattie teaches her friends. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An approachable, child-friendly guide to processing anxiety. (authors’ note) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 28, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35144-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022


Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011


From the Greetings from Somewhere series , Vol. 1

Not terribly remarkable, but the series has lots of growing room.

Second-grade twins prepare to leave the country, but not without first solving a time-sensitive mystery.

Ella and Ethan Briar are devastated by their parents’ announcement that the family is leaving their beloved hometown. Mrs. Briar has accepted a new job as a travel writer, a job that will send the family to new places all over the globe on a weekly basis. In an attempt to soothe the twins’ unhappiness about the move (“What about school? And soccer?” they ask), their grandfather—a retired, globe-trotting archaeologist himself—gives each a special gift for their travels. Mystery-writing Ella gets a journal; Ethan gets a special gold coin. On their last morning in town, Ethan realizes that his gold coin is missing—and they only have a few hours before they have to leave for the airport. While their grandfather does their chores, the twins methodically determine when Ethan last had the coin—the previous day—and make a list of places he visited to retrace his steps. This allows the twins to say goodbye to friendly faces throughout the town. This series-launching installment’s light on mystery, but it’s welcoming and accessible through expressive, frequent illustrations. The Mystery of the Mosaic, publishing simultaneously, takes the kids to Venice for their first overseas adventure.

Not terribly remarkable, but the series has lots of growing room. (Mystery. 5-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-9719-1

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2014

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