A nicely illustrated book that tackles a tough topic in an approachable way.

READ REVIEW

RILEY THE BRAVE

A bear cub with past trauma learns to act bravely in Sinarski’s debut picture book.

Sometimes Riley struggles with “confusing things from his past that are hard to talk about.” He copes by exhibiting traits of other creatures, such as a tiger “using his claws…to scare other animals away.” Now, the cub acts bravely when he asks for help instead of curling up into his emotional “shell.” Riley enjoys playing with friends, and he works to determine with whom he feels safe. He also practices using words to express himself: “it might not sound like much to tell someone that you’re feeling mad or sad or scared, but Riley didn’t always get to have those feelings.” This book accessibly depicts the behaviors and struggles of traumatized children, although Riley’s backstory goes unexplained. Kids may not pick up on nuances; an adult may need to explain that Riley’s happy for extra snacks because he was once insecure about food or why an adopted bear has elephant parents. Kline’s illustrations will appeal to kids with their cheery colors. Some feature additional subtext; one depicts Riley crying as he explains that he’s mad. In an afterword for adults, the author includes specifics on interacting with children who’ve endured trauma.

A nicely illustrated book that tackles a tough topic in an approachable way.

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Cameck Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

Did you like this book?

A must-have book about the power of one’s voice and the friendships that emerge when you are yourself.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE DAY YOU BEGIN

School-age children encounter and overcome feelings of difference from their peers in the latest picture book from Woodson.

This nonlinear story centers on Angelina, with big curly hair and brown skin, as she begins the school year with a class share-out of summer travels. Text and illustrations effectively work together to convey her feelings of otherness as she reflects on her own summer spent at home: “What good is this / when others were flying,” she ponders while leaning out her city window forlornly watching birds fly past to seemingly faraway places. López’s incorporation of a ruler for a door, table, and tree into the illustrations creatively extends the metaphor of measuring up to others. Three other children—Rigoberto, a recent immigrant from Venezuela; a presumably Korean girl with her “too strange” lunch of kimchi, meat, and rice; and a lonely white boy in what seems to be a suburb—experience more-direct teasing for their outsider status. A bright jewel-toned palette and clever details, including a literal reflection of a better future, reveal hope and pride in spite of the taunting. This reassuring, lyrical book feels like a big hug from a wise aunt as she imparts the wisdom of the world in order to calm trepidatious young children: One of these things is not like the other, and that is actually what makes all the difference.

A must-have book about the power of one’s voice and the friendships that emerge when you are yourself. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-24653-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more