Goldie Locks has contracted chicken pox from an unknown source, although her mom asks Mrs. Bear if Baby Bear shows any signs of the disease. While she’s at it, she also apologizes for the chair her daughter broke. Goldie’s spots start out small in number and size, but are soon larger and more numerous. And of course they itch like mad. Henny Penny, Bo Peep, and Little Red Riding Hood all make appearances to distract Goldie. The doctor gives a clear-cut diagnosis and suggests a cool bath and lots of sweet treats, but he’s a mouse so one might doubt his advice. Little Brother is even more bothersome than the spots and itch. Jealous of all the attention she’s receiving, he tries to connect the dots on Goldie’s face, makes fun of the way she looks, and is generally obnoxious. Of course, his turn comes too. Dealey has chosen to tell the story in verse, but the verse is amateurish, with too many awkward lines, at least one passage that is completely lacking rhythm and stocked with bland rhymes and several non-rhymes, like “dots/pox” and “six/itched.” Straightforward, breezy prose might have served this slight tale better. Wakiyama’s (Too Big, 1998, etc.) illustrations are much more successful. They are rendered brightly, in oil, with red the predominating color. The style might be described as 1950s kitsch. Little Brother looks particularly like the icon for an early fast-food chain. There are cowboy shirts, Formica tables, checkered-tile floors, record players, kidney-shaped coffee tables, and more. Great fun to look at, but the illustrations can’t save the mediocre writing. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-689-82981-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2002

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Give this child’s-eye view of a day at the beach with an attentive father high marks for coziness: “When your ball blows across the sand and into the ocean and starts to drift away, your daddy could say, Didn’t I tell you not to play too close to the waves? But he doesn’t. He wades out into the cold water. And he brings your ball back to the beach and plays roll and catch with you.” Alley depicts a moppet and her relaxed-looking dad (to all appearances a single parent) in informally drawn beach and domestic settings: playing together, snuggling up on the sofa and finally hugging each other goodnight. The third-person voice is a bit distancing, but it makes the togetherness less treacly, and Dad’s mix of love and competence is less insulting, to parents and children both, than Douglas Wood’s What Dads Can’t Do (2000), illus by Doug Cushman. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 23, 2005

ISBN: 0-618-00361-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2005

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.


Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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