IT’S HARD TO BE FIVE

LEARNING HOW TO WORK MY CONTROL PANEL

Curtis echoes Dr. Seuss’s Oh, the Places You’ll Go! in her latest collaboration with Cornell that laments and celebrates the agony and the ecstasy of being five years old. Rhythmic verses bounce along as the boy narrator lists his daily challenges, most involving the entropic nature of childhood that flies in the face of etiquette and hygiene: “It’s hard to be five. Just yelled at my brother. / My mind says do one thing, / my mouth says another.” As ever, Cornell’s hilarious, detail-rich illustrations effervesce with amusing asides that catapult the engaging but unspectacular verse to another level. A couple of clunky lines (“My body’s my car, / and I’m licensed to steer”) are, like the subtitle, perplexing and overly adult. Still, children will relate to this vivacious tale of a boy who likes to stay dirty, pretend to be a ninja, and bite his friends—but, on the brighter side, builds things, grows things, and says “thank you” and “please.” (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-06-008095-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2004

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Dog lovers will especially “LOVE” this, and readers who can’t get enough can follow the real-life Plum in the author’s blog.

LOVE IS MY FAVORITE THING

Clark captures a dog’s exuberance and love of the simple things.

While the text is missing any mention of “Squirrel!” still, Plum jumps from one thing to the next that she loves, from wind and snow and catching and sticks and the kids next door to the park, water, tug of war, and ice cream. It’s these last four things that get Plum into trouble one day, one awful day when she wonders if any of the people she loves still love her—that’s how naughty she’s been. This is doubly tough for poor Plum, as LOVE is her favorite thing in the world, LOVE being the love she has for her family, Emma and Rupert, and for Gracie and Sam, the kids next door, and the love they have for her. Clark uses white backgrounds and spreads that vary among comic panels, vignettes, single-page and double-page spreads to pace the tale and make it clear to readers just how energetic and exuberant the scruffy black mutt is. And no child will fail to understand the dog’s conundrum: she knows what she should do and yet feels compelled to do the wrong thing anyway. Fur, ears, and posture speak volumes.

Dog lovers will especially “LOVE” this, and readers who can’t get enough can follow the real-life Plum in the author’s blog. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-17503-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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Gently encourages empathy, compassion, and consideration.

TOMORROW I'LL BE KIND

How will you behave tomorrow?

Utilizing the same format and concept of her popular Tomorrow I’ll Be Brave (2018), Hische presents young listeners with short, studied rhymes that describe various positive attributes (being helpful, patient, gentle, honest, generous, graceful, and kind). Also included are kid-friendly ways to incorporate these behaviors into daily life, with the underlying goal of making the world a better place. The illustrations, which feature friends in the forms of a mouse, cat, and rabbit, are colorful and appealing, and they extend the text by showing some additional ways of realizing the characteristics mentioned. Overall, the intentions are aboveboard, but this is a volume intended to teach about positive values and behavior, and as such, it comes across as somewhat treacly and proselytizing. The key words, incorporated into the illustrations in a graphic manner, are sometimes a bit difficult to read, and occasionally, select vocabulary and phrases (“to myself I will be true”; “my heart, my guiding light”) seem better suited for an older readership. Still, as an introduction to personality characteristics, beneficial behaviors, and social-emotional skills, this is a solid choice, and fans of the previous volume are likely to embrace this one as well. “I’ll dream of all the good that comes / when we all just do our best,” the text explains—a sentiment that’s hard to rebut.

Gently encourages empathy, compassion, and consideration. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-8704-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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