A gem of a book that encourages kids to toughen up, gently.



Help toddlers learn to find their true grit with this charming primer on resilience.

This lovely introduction for tots to the value of perseverance and working through adversity is both gentle and persuasive. The lessons are well-stated and clear, making this book both a welcome addition to board-book literature and a great alternative to yelling, “Suck it up!” Gritty Kitty and friends play out a variety of scenarios that could end in tears. Instead of treating each incident like a catastrophe, though, Gritty Kitty demonstrates that there are healthier, easier, and more enjoyable ways to respond to each situation: “Gritty Kitty, stumble and fall, / stand back up—no problem at all! // Build a tower. Blocks tumble down. / Keep trying, look: a purrfect town!” When the blocks fall, of course, Gritty Kitty looks appropriately unhappy but then beams with joy when persistence pays off and the town is complete. Other pint-sized potential crises that Gritty Kitty navigates in an emotionally healthy way include impatience, boredom, trying new food, and fear of the dark (it can be cozy, too). The cartoon illustrations complement the lessons perfectly—each animal character is fully realized and expressive, with plenty of fun detail in each panel.

A gem of a book that encourages kids to toughen up, gently. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-936669-76-9

Page Count: 14

Publisher: blue manatee press

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Wonderful, indeed

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A love song to baby with delightful illustrations to boot.

Sweet but not saccharine and singsong but not forced, Martin’s text is one that will invite rereadings as it affirms parental wishes for children while admirably keeping child readers at its heart. The lines that read “This is the first time / There’s ever been you, / So I wonder what wonderful things / You will do” capture the essence of the picture book and are accompanied by a diverse group of babies and toddlers clad in downright adorable outfits. Other spreads include older kids, too, and pictures expand on the open text to visually interpret the myriad possibilities and hopes for the depicted children. For example, a spread reading “Will you learn how to fly / To find the best view?” shows a bespectacled, school-aged girl on a swing soaring through an empty white background. This is just one spread in which Martin’s fearless embrace of the white of the page serves her well. Throughout the book, she maintains a keen balance of layout choices, and surprising details—zebras on the wallpaper behind a father cradling his child, a rock-’n’-roll band of mice paralleling the children’s own band called “The Missing Teeth”—add visual interest and gentle humor. An ideal title for the baby-shower gift bag and for any nursery bookshelf or lap-sit storytime.

Wonderful, indeed . (Picture book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37671-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...


A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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