It’s not as rollicking or ingenious as Marty Kelley’s Almost Everybody Farts (2017), but it is a fine companion to complete...


It’s not just you; everyone’s bottom makes more than poo.

“Daddy toots while working / up on the ladder, / Mommy toots while exercising / and says, ‘It doesn’t matter.’ ” Grandpa toots too; though Grandma doesn’t hear it, she covers her nose with her jacket. Musicians, royalty, baseball players, astronauts, and even ballerinas (though they deny it) all break wind. Elephants and hippos make bubbles under water, and unicorns fart sweet-smelling rainbows. “So if you’re on the school bus / or outside having fun, / don’t worry about a toot or two / —because it happens to everyone!” Rhatigan’s rhyming assurance that everyone blows the bottom bugle joins the veritable explosion (pun very much intended) of funny fart tales. The bright, digitally created illustrations will elicit more giggles than the fluffed verse in this fable. O’Kif’s goggle-eyed animals, some embarrassed, some surprised, some cheeky (that one intended too), all issue little green clouds to prove the title’s point. The picture of three anthropomorphic students on the bus—a crocodile, a Boston terrier, and a hedgehog—all elevated by the power of their toots—helps to make up for the stumbling scansion.

It’s not as rollicking or ingenious as Marty Kelley’s Almost Everybody Farts (2017), but it is a fine companion to complete a very rude storytime. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-63322-224-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Moondance/Quarto

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2017

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Safe to creep on by.


Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)


A feel-good book about self-acceptance.

Empire star Byers and Bobo offer a beautifully illustrated, rhyming picture book detailing what one brown-skinned little girl with an impressive Afro appreciates about herself. Relying on similes, the text establishes a pattern with the opening sentence, “Like the sun, I’m here to shine,” and follows it through most of the book. Some of them work well, while others fall flat: “Like the rain, I’m here to pour / and drip and fall until I’m full.” In some vignettes she’s by herself; and in others, pictured along with children of other races. While the book’s pro-diversity message comes through, the didactic and even prideful expressions of self-acceptance make the book exasperatingly preachy—a common pitfall for books by celebrity authors. In contrast, Bobo’s illustrations are visually stunning. After painting the children and the objects with which they interact, such as flowers, books, and a red wagon, in acrylic on board for a traditional look, she scanned the images into Adobe Photoshop and added the backgrounds digitally in chalk. This lends a whimsical feel to such details as a rainbow, a window, wind, and rain—all reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Bobo creates an inclusive world of girls in which wearing glasses, using a wheelchair, wearing a head scarf, and having a big Afro are unconditionally accepted rather than markers for othering.

A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266712-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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