Imagination is a powerful tool; perhaps this will show readers how to harness its powers to tame their fears instead of...

READ REVIEW

DOES FRANKENSTEIN GET HUNGRY?

Instead of worrying about the many monsters and ghouls that are typical Halloween haunts, a young girl, who narrates in the first person as she lies in bed, uses her imagination to put her fears to rest.

After an opening verse and an image of the girl with her blankets pulled up to her chin, Solimine’s first spread-spanning illustration shows the girl in bed in her room, the blue monochrome illustration showing all sorts of spooky things. But this little girl isn’t one to panic. Instead, she lets her curiosity take charge, the illustrations depicting each silly scenario: “Are MUMMIES fond of long bike rides / just like normal folks? / Or do their crusty bandages / get tangled in the spokes?” Do ghosts teach their pets to play dead? Does Dracula floss? Does the Boogeyman wipe his boogers on his sleeve? The final spread returns readers to the bedroom, only now the spooky things are gone, replaced by the objects that inspired them: the tentacle beneath the bed? Only a scarf. “All these questions make the ghoulish appear foolish / and the ghostly mostly meek. / Being scared is so silly now that / monsters seem so weak!” Though the text’s scansion is sometimes off, Solimine’s pencil, pen, and Photoshop illustrations are sure to tickle readers’ funny bones (and disgust them as well). The palette is heavy on orange, green, and purple; the girl has brown skin and brown braids.

Imagination is a powerful tool; perhaps this will show readers how to harness its powers to tame their fears instead of feeding them. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-54641-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.

WHY A DAUGHTER NEEDS A MOM

All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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ALWAYS MORE LOVE

An interactive book works to get its titular message across to readers.

The narrator, an anthropomorphic cartoon heart with big eyes and stick arms and legs, is nothing if not exuberant in its attempts, clumsy and cloying as they may be. “I love you so much, / but there’s more in my heart. / How is that possible? / Well, where do I start? // Now move in close, and you will see / just how much you mean to me. // My love is huge—below, above. / As you can tell, there’s always more love!” The page following the instruction to move in shows a close-up of the top of the heart and its eyes, one stick arm pointing skyward, though despite the admonition “you can tell,” readers will glean nothing about love from this picture. À la Hervé Tullet, the book prompts readers to act, but the instructions can sometimes be confusing (see above) and are largely irrelevant to the following spread, supposedly triggered by the suggested actions. The heart, suddenly supplied with a painter’s palette and a beret and surrounded by blobs of color, instructs readers to “Shake the book to see what I can be.” The page turn reveals hearts of all different colors, one rainbow-striped, and then different shapes. Most troublingly, the heart, who is clearly meant to be a stand-in for loved ones, states, “I’m always here for you,” which for too many children is heartbreakingly not true.

Skip. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-1376-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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