It means well, but there are better books about the power of words.



A girl collects words for the fun of it.

Inspired by her teacher, accompanied by her dog, and carrying a pink attaché case, Delores Thesaurus, who wears glasses and has braces on her teeth, searches for big words to add to her ever burgeoning stock. Tantalizing gems arise on signs and in overheard conversations, and these Delores eagerly writes down and stashes in her case. When a pelican flies off with the attaché case, Delores frantically pursues it, to no avail. Equally useless are Delores’ efforts to enlist help from various passers-by: Articulating some of her big words—incorrectly—to explain her plight, she fails to convey her desperation to seemingly uninterested bystanders. A kindly shopkeeper, a woman of color, finally steps in, gently helping the little white girl understand she had confused everyone with her inaccurate language and clarifying this point by defining the words. She hands Delores a dictionary, prompting the girl to adopt a new nickname. This overlong narrative, expressed in very clunky verse that often scans poorly, may try kids’ patience. The illustrations are colorful if static and incorporate some exciting words used in the text in addition to other interesting vocabulary; readers will enjoy poring over these in the drawings. The book also makes a subtle, welcome point by putting a woman of color in the position of linguistic expert.

It means well, but there are better books about the power of words. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4867-1463-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flowerpot Press

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.


A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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Too thin to fly as either tour or tribute but a memorable showcase nonetheless for a talented French paper artist.


From the Up, Up and Away series

Silhouettes, both printed and laser-cut, add sparkle to a quick tour of London sites and starry skies conducted by Mary Poppins.

Michael and Jane are thrilled when their nanny (literally) drops in on the end of a kite string, and spit-spot they’re off to see Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and Piccadilly—followed by an undersea visit and a flight through comet-filled skies to a circus of constellations. As the text, translated without credit from the original French, is confined to a few wooden couplets along the lines of “On Cherry Tree Lane, it’s a nice day to dream… / To walk in the park or to eat an ice cream,” the stars of the show are Druvert’s illustrations. The black, cut pages are designed to be flipped back and forth to fill in printed cityscapes, marine scenes, and speckled firmaments with fine detail. The marvelous intricacy of the cutout fences, ironwork, trees, strands of seaweed, and small human figures leaves those pages too fragile to survive even moderately careless handling intact, but the intensely black overlay (along with a subtle use of gray tones in the backgrounds) creates a sense of depth and, often, an evocative shimmer of light. A large die-cut window in the front cover offers a hint of the visual pleasures within.

Too thin to fly as either tour or tribute but a memorable showcase nonetheless for a talented French paper artist. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-500-65104-9

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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