From the endpapers labeling Migs’ classmates, readers may infer that more titles are forthcoming—it’ll be nice to see more...

A BIG DAY FOR MIGS

Migs is nervous about his first day of school, but will his solution to shyness help him make friends?

Hodgkinson’s spot-on rhythms and rhymes keep the story moving as Migs and his Mum walk to school. “She hugs him tight, she waves goodbye. / Migs is trying not to cry.” Once in the classroom, he hides behind the “Dressing Up” box, wishing he weren’t so shy, then gets an idea. “He finds a hat, a cape, some boots. / He feels so brave in this new suit.” But Mighty Migs is a little too mighty for his classmates. The supermouse interrupts a puppet show, destroys Newt’s train track and then spills water all over Rokko’s painting. A swipe of a cloth, tape and glue fail to fix it, though, and after Rokko sharply dismisses him, Migs sulks in the corner, hiding, until he gets a brilliant idea for making it up to the wronged rabbit. Not only does his plan work, but Migs seems to be over his shyness—rather quick turnarounds. While the message of atoning for wrongdoing is a clear one, readers may not be as creative as Migs with their solutions. Bright cartoon illustrations bring Migs’ classroom to life, as well as the emotions writ large upon the animals’ faces.

From the endpapers labeling Migs’ classmates, readers may infer that more titles are forthcoming—it’ll be nice to see more of this agreeable crew. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4677-5014-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Andersen Press USA

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught...

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A PROBLEM?

A child struggles with the worry and anxiety that come with an unexpected problem.

In a wonderful balance of text and pictures, the team responsible for What Do You Do With an Idea (2014) returns with another book inspiring children to feel good about themselves. A child frets about a problem that won’t go away: “I wished it would just disappear. I tried everything I could to hide from it. I even found ways to disguise myself. But it still found me.” The spare, direct narrative is accompanied by soft gray illustrations in pencil and watercolor. The sepia-toned figure of the child is set apart from the background and surrounded by lots of white space, visually isolating the problem, which is depicted as a purple storm cloud looming overhead. Color is added bit by bit as the storm cloud grows and its color becomes more saturated. With a backpack and umbrella, the child tries to escape the problem while the storm swirls, awash with compass points scattered across the pages. The pages brighten into splashes of yellow as the child decides to tackle the problem head-on and finds that it holds promise for unlooked-for opportunity.

A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught situations, this belongs on the shelf alongside Molly Bang’s Sophie books. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-943-20000-9

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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Accessible, reassuring and hopeful.

THE INVISIBLE BOY

This endearing picture book about a timid boy who longs to belong has an agenda but delivers its message with great sensitivity.

Brian wants to join in but is overlooked, even ostracized, by his classmates. Readers first see him alone on the front endpapers, drawing in chalk on the ground. The school scenarios are uncomfortably familiar: High-maintenance children get the teacher’s attention; team captains choose kickball players by popularity and athletic ability; chatter about birthday parties indicates they are not inclusive events. Tender illustrations rendered in glowing hues capture Brian’s isolation deftly; compared to the others and his surroundings, he appears in black and white. What saves Brian is his creativity. As he draws, Brian imagines amazing stories, including a poignant one about a superhero with the power to make friends. When a new boy takes some ribbing, it is Brian who leaves an illustrated note to make him feel better. The boy does not forget this gesture. It only takes one person noticing Brian for the others to see his talents have value; that he has something to contribute. Brian’s colors pop. In the closing endpapers, Brian’s classmates are spread around him on the ground, “wearing” his chalk-drawn wings and capes. Use this to start a discussion: The author includes suggested questions and recommended reading lists for adults and children.

Accessible, reassuring and hopeful. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-582-46450-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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