Sure to fill a niche for those tackling potentially thorny social situations, this straightforward and enlightened approach...




From the Anh's Anger series , Vol. 2

Silver and Krömer pair their considerable talents to create a successful second title in the Anh’s Anger series (Anh's Anger, 2009).

Here Anh faces a common childhood dilemma: He wants to do one thing (dig in the dirt at recess), while his friends are set on doing another (playing kickball). He tries to convince his friends to join him, but one boy retorts, “Digging is for babies.” This crushes Ahn; he “felt like he’d been punched in the stomach.” As Anh retreats to “the shade of the oak tree” with “a salty tear rounding the corner of his lip,” Anger explodes onto the scene in a wild collage of green, red and yellow textures with spiral, swirly eyes and a mouthful of sharp teeth. He reminds Anh that he “always show[s] up when things aren’t going your way.” This personification of Anger fills Anh’s head with negative thoughts, but Anh resists its goading and begins to walk slowly. With each step they breathe in and out and count. This walking meditation helps Anh get control of his feelings. As the counting increases, Anger’s vibrant colors begin to fade, and his size diminishes. Silver’s dialogue-driven text is likely to provoke meaningful discussions about dealing with disappointment and controlling tempers. Preschoolers and primary-grade students will appreciate Krömer’s visual feast of pencil, paint and tactile collage elements used to vividly illustrate Anh’s story.

Sure to fill a niche for those tackling potentially thorny social situations, this straightforward and enlightened approach will appeal to many. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-935209-87-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Plum Blossom Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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Aims high but falls flat.


Through 20 short poems, Maestro Mouse invites readers to meet a series of animals who have lessons to impart and a symphony to perform.

Brown, author of The DaVinci Code (2003) and other wildly popular titles for adults, here offers young listeners a poetry collection accompanied by music: a “symphony” performed, for readers equipped with an audio device and an internet connection, by the Zagreb Festival Orchestra. From the introduction of the conductor and the opening “Woodbird Welcome” to the closing “Cricket Lullaby,” the writer/composer uses poems made of three to eight rhyming couplets, each line with four strong beats, to introduce the animals who will be revealed in the final double gatefold as the players in an all-animal orchestra. Each poem also contains a lesson, reinforced by a short message (often on a banner or signpost). Thus, “When life trips them up a bit, / Cats just make the best of it” concludes the poem “Clumsy Kittens,” which is encapsulated by “Falling down is part of life. The best thing to do is get back on your feet!” The individual songs and poems may appeal to the intended audience, but collectively they don’t have enough variety to be read aloud straight through. Nor does the gathering of the orchestra provide a narrative arc. Batori’s cartoon illustrations are whimsically engaging, however. They include puzzles: hard-to-find letters that are said to form anagrams of instrument names and a bee who turns up somewhere in every scene.

Aims high but falls flat. (Complete composition not available for review.) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12384-3

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Rodale Kids

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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Readers will agree: All differences should be hugged, er, embraced.


Watch out, Hug Machine (Scott Campbell, 2014), there’s another long-limbed lover of squeezes in the mix.

Bernard, a tiny, lavender bird, dejectedly sits atop a high branch. His wings droop all the way to the ground. Heaving a sigh, his disappointment is palpable. With insufferably long wings, he has never been able to fly. All of his friends easily took to the skies, leaving him behind. There is nothing left to do but sit in his tree and feel sorry for himself. Adamson amusingly shows readers the passage of time with a sequence of vignettes of Bernard sitting in the rain, the dark, and amid a cloud of paper wasps—never moving from his branch. Then one day he hears a sob and finds a tearful orangutan. Without even thinking, Bernard wraps his long wings around the great ape. The orangutan is comforted! Bernard has finally found the best use of his wings. In gentle watercolor and pencil sketches, Adamson slips in many moments of humor. Animals come from all over to tell Bernard their troubles (a lion muses that it is “lonely at the top of the food chain” while a bat worries about missing out on fun during the day). Three vertical spreads that necessitate a 90-degree rotation add to the fun.

Readers will agree: All differences should be hugged, er, embraced. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9271-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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