Nat’s sunny smile is hard to resist.

READ REVIEW

NAT THE CAT'S SUNNY SMILE

Who wouldn’t smile at a day of picnic fun?

“Nat the Cat jumped out of bed / with a smile spread halfway around her head. / She packed a picnic snack to share / with her friends Billy Goat and Hugo Hare.” However, when she knocks on Hugo’s door, he’s feeling gray to match the clouds. Sunny Nat is fine with that; she pats his head and goes on her way. At Billy Goat’s house, she knocks again, but he’s got a case of the grumpies. Nat pats his head too and continues on. Unbeknownst to Nat, her smiles and pats have cheered Hugo’s grays away and banished Billy’s grumpies. Unfortunately, Nat starts to feel down; what fun is a picnic alone? And the sky does look a bit gray. Then her two friends surprise her by showing up for the snack. They sing a song (music included) and have a grand game of Frisbee. Prolific British storybook author/illustrator/musician Alborough gives Nat a blue guitar, which she carries slung on her back in the big, bright, friendly gouache illustrations. Listeners will identify with Nat and friends and respond with tapping toes to the rhyme and the song. The song can be heard and downloaded via a provided URL; Billy and Hugo books (with songs) will follow.

Nat’s sunny smile is hard to resist. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-61067-177-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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A treat to be savored—and a lesson learned—any time of year.

LOVE MONSTER AND THE LAST CHOCOLATE

From the Love Monster series

The surprised recipient of a box of chocolates agonizes over whether to eat the whole box himself or share with his friends.

Love Monster is a chocoholic, so when he discovers the box on his doorstep, his mouth waters just thinking about what might be inside; his favorite’s a double chocolate strawberry swirl. The brief thought that he should share these treats with his friends is easily rationalized away. Maybe there won’t be enough for everyone, perhaps someone will eat his favorite, or, even worse, leave him with his least favorite: the coffee one! Bright’s pacing and tone are on target throughout, her words conveying to readers exactly what the monster is thinking and feeling: “So he went into his house. And so did the box of chocolates…without a whisper of a word to anyone.” This is followed by a “queasy-squeezy” feeling akin to guilt and then by a full-tilt run to his friends, chocolates in hand, and a breathless, stream-of-consciousness confession, only to be brought up short by what’s actually in the box. And the moral is just right: “You see, sometimes it’s when you stop to think of others…that you start to find out just how much they think of you.” Monster’s wide eyes and toothy mouth convey his emotions wonderfully, and the simple backgrounds keep the focus on his struggle.

A treat to be savored—and a lesson learned—any time of year. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-00-754030-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children.

THE NIGHT IS YOURS

On hot summer nights, Amani’s parents permit her to go outside and play in the apartment courtyard, where the breeze is cool and her friends are waiting.

The children jump rope to the sounds of music as it floats through a neighbor’s window, gaze at stars in the night sky, and play hide-and-seek in the moonlight. It is in the moonlight that Amani and her friends are themselves found by the moon, and it illumines the many shades of their skin, which vary from light tan to deep brown. In a world where darkness often evokes ideas of evil or fear, this book is a celebration of things that are dark and beautiful—like a child’s dark skin and the night in which she plays. The lines “Show everyone else how to embrace the night like you. Teach them how to be a night-owning girl like you” are as much an appeal for her to love and appreciate her dark skin as they are the exhortation for Amani to enjoy the night. There is a sense of security that flows throughout this book. The courtyard is safe and homelike. The moon, like an additional parent, seems to be watching the children from the sky. The charming full-bleed illustrations, done in washes of mostly deep blues and greens, make this a wonderful bedtime story.

Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55271-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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