In a world where toy aisles and sometimes book racks are explicitly and implicitly gendered, Clive’s love of baby dolls,...


From the All About Clive series

Meet Clive, a white toddler who loves to play with his toys, his accessories, and his friends.

In this title, one of a series, Clive takes tender loving care of two baby dolls, one with brown skin and the other white. He gives them a ride in a stroller, feeds them, dresses them, shows them how to use a potty, puts them to bed in a cardboard box, and finally cuddles with them in his own bed. The companion titles also demonstrate Clive’s freedom from traditional gender norms. In Clive and His Hats, the tyke plays with all sorts of headgear, including a flowery, purple hat accompanied by a lavender feather boa. He employs all sorts of luggage, such as a book bag at the library, a nurse’s bag, a sports bag full of balls, and a sleeping bag at bedtime in Clive and His Bags. And finally, in Clive and His Art, the boy explores a variety of media including painting, construction, collage, and bead threading. In each of the books, Clive plays with a diverse group of friends, including Mina, Asif, Jeffrey (who look to be of Asian, Middle Eastern, and African descent respectively), and Moshi, an endearing black cat. Spanyol’s delightful cartoons, which read as a mix of pen, ink, and cut-paper collage in muted colors and have a childlike, two-dimensional look, are clear, accessible, and joyous. While the series has a decidedly British feel, from the hero’s name to the omnipresence of paper crowns, there is nothing here to confuse North American toddlers.

In a world where toy aisles and sometimes book racks are explicitly and implicitly gendered, Clive’s love of baby dolls, frilly hats, glitter, and bags of all sorts is a breath of fresh air. (Board book. 18 mos.-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-84643-882-0

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves


A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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With the same delightfully irreverent spirit that he brought to his retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" (1987), Marshall enlivens another favorite. Although completely retold with his usual pungent wit and contemporary touches ("I don't mind if I do," says Goldilocks, as she tries out porridge, chair, and bed), Marshall retains the stories well-loved pattern, including Goldilocks escaping through the window (whereupon Baby Bear inquires, "Who was that little girl?"). The illustrations are fraught with delicious humor and detail: books that are stacked everywhere around the rather cluttered house, including some used in lieu of a missing leg for Papa Bear's chair; comically exaggerated beds—much too high at the head and the foot; and Baby Bear's wonderfully messy room, which certainly brings the story into the 20th century. Like its predecessor, perfect for several uses, from picture-book hour to beginning reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1988

ISBN: 0140563660

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1988

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