A funny, fast read with a predictable but enjoyable plot and character development.



Will a kind gesture from Rabbit change Bear’s grumpy attitude?

“Bear was ALWAYS GRUMPY. He had a big, furry frown and a sulky scowl.” The bold, serif typeface proclaims this on the verso, as Bear’s large, open, toothless mouth lets out a “GRRRROWL!” that crosses into the recto via speech bubble. His foreshortened muzzle makes his face look rather doglike here, but on later pages he appears obviously ursine. Sweet-faced Rabbit, sporting a striped sweater, vows to cheer up Bear, against the cautions of nervous squirrels. When Bear finds Rabbit’s snow sculpture (embellished throughout with embossed sparkles), his outraged roar sends a pile of snow onto himself and the snow rabbit. Little ones will giggle nervously as each woodland animal denies to Bear any culpability in the creation of the snow rabbit. The text continues to use both narrative text and comments in speech bubbles, complemented by an array of brightly colored, anthropomorphic, cartoonlike animals—all with soft-appearing fur—against pale blue, wintry skies. A particularly funny bit shows an owl perched on a snowy tree branch, dramatically covering its face with feathered fingers, bracing itself for a Bear tirade. When Rabbit has been identified as the trespasser, Bear bellows and growls and ultimately demands that she help him clean up the mess. Despite Bear’s bluster, little ones will sense that a happy ending is coming, and they will enjoy gazing at the final double-page spread.

A funny, fast read with a predictable but enjoyable plot and character development. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68010-101-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Banal affirmation buoyed by charming illustrations.


Diversity is the face of this picture book designed to inspire confidence in children.

Fans of Byers and Bobo’s I Am Enough (2018) will enjoy this book that comes with a universal message of self-acceptance. A line of children practices ballet at the barre; refreshingly, two of the four are visibly (and adorably) pudgy. Another group tends a couple of raised beds; one of them wears hijab. Two more children coax a trepidatious friend down a steep slide. Further images, of children pretending to be pirates, dragons, mimes, playing superhero and soccer, and cooking, are equally endearing, but unfortunately they don’t add enough heft to set the book apart from other empowerment books for children. Though the illustrations shine, the text remains pedagogic and bland. Clichés abound: “When I believe in myself, there’s simply nothing I can’t do”; “Sometimes I am right, and sometimes I am wrong. / But even when I make mistakes, I learn from them to make me strong.” The inclusion of children with varying abilities, religions, genders, body types, and racial presentations creates an inviting tone that makes the book palatable. It’s hard to argue with the titular sentiment, but this is not the only book of its ilk on the shelf.

Banal affirmation buoyed by charming illustrations. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-266713-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for...


Oliver, of first-day-of-school alligator fame, is back, imagining adventures and still struggling to find balance between introversion and extroversion.

“When Oliver found his egg…” on the playground, mint-green backgrounds signifying Oliver’s flight into fancy slowly grow larger until they take up entire spreads; Oliver’s creature, white and dinosaurlike with orange polka dots, grows larger with them. Their adventures include sharing treats, sailing the seas and going into outer space. A classmate’s yell brings him back to reality, where readers see him sitting on top of a rock. Even considering Schmid’s scribbly style, readers can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he ponders the girl and whether or not to give up his solitary play. “But when Oliver found his rock… // Oliver imagined many adventures // with all his friends!” This last is on a double gatefold that opens to show the children enjoying the creature’s slippery curves. A final wordless spread depicts all the children sitting on rocks, expressions gleeful, wondering, waiting, hopeful. The illustrations, done in pastel pencil and digital color, again make masterful use of white space and page turns, although this tale is not nearly as funny or tongue-in-cheek as Oliver and His Alligator (2013), nor is its message as clear and immediately accessible to children.

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for all children but sadly isn’t. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7573-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet