The unnecessary original “sing-along” song without music at the close aside, young music lovers will want to play along.

READ REVIEW

THE PUNKYDOOS TAKE THE STAGE

From the Punkydoos series

What’s a music-loving girl to do when everyone tells her now’s not the time?

Lexi-Lou is many spectacular things in her imagination, but one thing she is for real is a girl who loves to sing. She and her dog, Monkey, sing in the morning, but her mother tells her it’s time for breakfast. She sings in her bedroom, and her father tells her it’s time to brush her teeth. When she finally gets some time to rock out, her brother Daniel asks when she’ll be performing. Lexi-Lou thinks a concert’s a great idea, but she’ll need a band. She follows the music to Henry’s house; he’ll play keyboard for her. They follow the sounds of a guitar to Gigi’s house; she’ll join, too. There’s still something missing…they follow several sounds until they find Boo, who’s great on drums! The band’s complete except for a name: The Punkydoos, Daniel’s nickname for Lexi-Lou, will do! Now no one tells them to stop playing. Jackson’s debut is an energetic tale of self-acceptance and making dreams happen for the preschool set. Lexi-Lou does more than any real tyke that age could—and with a whole lot more independence—but little listeners will identify with her enthusiasm. Andreasen’s wide-eyed cartoon illustrations, a mix of spot and full-bleed, are an apt match.

The unnecessary original “sing-along” song without music at the close aside, young music lovers will want to play along. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-4339-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 9, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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Banal affirmation buoyed by charming illustrations.

I BELIEVE I CAN

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

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