Kids will think twice before smooshing the next bug they see after reading this engaging story.

READ REVIEW

THE SCOUT IS OUT

In Presnar’s (Being Boots, 2014, etc.) children’s book, an ant encounters scary creatures while searching a house for a safe place to live.

Timmy is a new ant scout in charge of finding his colony a dry space away from the rain. He wears khaki pants sewed by his mother, a headlamp, goggles, and boots on four of his six legs (the others hold his lunch and a compass). He’s nervous about his first excursion, but the other ants goad him on. As their underground tunnel fills with water, Timmy slips, slides, and digs his way up into the grass. He reaches a house and finds a way in through a small hole in a concrete wall: “Go in! Be Brave!” says a voice inside him. Although he’s scared of the unknown, he explores every level of the house by climbing stairs, cables, and power lines. At each turn, he bumps into frightening creatures: spiders and their sticky webs, a hairy dog, a crazy cat, a dirty rat, and diving bats. He wants to save the day, but it’s clear that this house isn’t safe for his colony. Fortunately, the rain finally stops, the sun comes out, and Timmy’s friends and family consider him a hero anyway. Author and illustrator Presnar writes in an introduction that she created this story to help one of her own grandchildren face his fear of crawling insects. Her hand-drawn illustrations are colorful and cute and have plenty of homey details; for example, water pours from the house’s gutters, sweet rolls sit on the kitchen counter, and the cat lounges on a pretty, flower-patterned bedspread. She doesn’t usually draw Timmy to scale—he’s about the same size as a dustpan hanging in the basement—but this doesn’t detract from the overall story. Save for a couple of awkwardly arranged lines (such as, “he hoped the other ants were done with all the things they pleaded”), the rhymes are fun, and they’re appropriate for elementary school–age readers. Timmy’s adventure brings an important lesson for young readers to life: not only should you confront your fears, but you should also consider others’ perspectives while doing so.

Kids will think twice before smooshing the next bug they see after reading this engaging story.

Pub Date: Jan. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1503534186

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Xlibris

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2015

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Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit.

THERE'S A MONSTER IN YOUR BOOK

From the There’s a…in Your Book series

Readers try to dislodge a monster from the pages of this emotive and interactive read-aloud.

“OH NO!” the story starts. “There’s a monster in your book!” The blue, round-headed monster with pink horns and a pink-tipped tail can be seen cheerfully munching on the opening page. “Let’s try to get him out,” declares the narrator. Readers are encouraged to shake, tilt, and spin the book around, while the monster careens around an empty background looking scared and lost. Viewers are exhorted to tickle the monster’s feet, blow on the page, and make a really loud noise. Finally, shockingly, it works: “Now he’s in your room!” But clearly a monster in your book is safer than a monster in your room, so he’s coaxed back into the illustrations and lulled to sleep, curled up under one page and cuddling a bit of another like a child with their blankie. The monster’s entirely cute appearance and clear emotional reactions to his treatment add to the interactive aspect, and some young readers might even resist the instructions to avoid hurting their new pal. Children will be brought along on the monster’s journey, going from excited, noisy, and wiggly to calm and steady (one can hope).

Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6456-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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THE NAME JAR

Unhei has just left her Korean homeland and come to America with her parents. As she rides the school bus toward her first day of school, she remembers the farewell at the airport in Korea and examines the treasured gift her grandmother gave her: a small red pouch containing a wooden block on which Unhei’s name is carved. Unhei is ashamed when the children on the bus find her name difficult to pronounce and ridicule it. Lesson learned, she declines to tell her name to anyone else and instead offers, “Um, I haven’t picked one yet. But I’ll let you know next week.” Her classmates write suggested names on slips of paper and place them in a jar. One student, Joey, takes a particular liking to Unhei and sees the beauty in her special stamp. When the day arrives for Unhei to announce her chosen name, she discovers how much Joey has helped. Choi (Earthquake, see below, etc.) draws from her own experience, interweaving several issues into this touching account and delicately addressing the challenges of assimilation. The paintings are done in creamy, earth-tone oils and augment the story nicely. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 10, 2001

ISBN: 0-375-80613-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2001

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