BULLY

Returning to the characters from Field Day Friday (2000), Caseley offers some sensible advice about handling a bully. Mickey and Jack used to be friends, but Jack has taken to bullying of late. He crunches Mickey's fingers on the jungle gym and says, "Ask me if I care." He grabs Mickey's cookies at lunch and then laughs in his face. Mickey’s father counsels him to stand tall and use brave words like "I don't like that!" But Jack is a shade too big and more than a shade too belligerent for that tack. His mother suggests that Mickey try being nice to Jack, calling to Mickey's attention that Jack's mother just had a baby. "When you were born, your sister didn't like it. She wheeled you down the street and tried to give you to a neighbor." That helps Mickey put some perspective on the situation and though Jack continues his wanton attacks, Mickey tries some kindness. It does the trick, that and coming to Jack's side when others tease him over his new set of braces. More often than not bullies are way too menacing to pull the confrontational tactics recommended by Mickey's father, so ladling on the kindness is a better idea. Perhaps best of all is the simple notion of talking with your parents about the problem, halving the trouble right there. Caseley's flat, vaguely primitive art seems simple at first, but it is filled with the details of ordinary life at home and school and lends just the right air of authenticity to the story. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 30, 2001

ISBN: 0-688-17867-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2001

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

YOU MATTER

Employing a cast of diverse children reminiscent of that depicted in Another (2019), Robinson shows that every living entity has value.

After opening endpapers that depict an aerial view of a busy playground, the perspective shifts to a black child, ponytails tied with beaded elastics, peering into a microscope. So begins an exercise in perspective. From those bits of green life under the lens readers move to “Those who swim with the tide / and those who don’t.” They observe a “pest”—a mosquito biting a dinosaur, a “really gassy” planet, and a dog whose walker—a child in a pink hijab—has lost hold of the leash. Periodically, the examples are validated with the titular refrain. Textured paint strokes and collage elements contrast with uncluttered backgrounds that move from white to black to white. The black pages in the middle portion foreground scenes in space, including a black astronaut viewing Earth; the astronaut is holding an image of another black youngster who appears on the next spread flying a toy rocket and looking lonely. There are many such visual connections, creating emotional interest and invitations for conversation. The story’s conclusion spins full circle, repeating opening sentences with new scenarios. From the microscopic to the cosmic, word and image illuminate the message without a whiff of didacticism.

Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2169-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A humorous, meandering approach to a life lesson about leading every day with benevolence.

A NEW DAY

To the consternation of the other six days of the week, Sunday quits in protest, tired of being unappreciated for her consistent delivery of a weekly “beautiful free day.”

Sunday’s abrupt decision prompts the others to look for her replacement with an advertisement inviting auditions before the remaining six days. The competition quickly grows increasingly fierce as ideas are broached for DogDay, Big-BurpDay, PieDay, Band-AidDay, and, ridiculously, FirepoleSlidingIntoPoolsOfCottonCandyDay. Amid all this boisterous and frenzied rivalry, a little girl approaches the misunderstood Sunday with a small plant to say thank you and to suggest “simply a nice day. A day when people can show more kindness to each other.” The child’s humble gratitude is enough for Sunday to return to her important weekly position and to prompt all the days to value kindness as the key to each day’s possibilities. Bright art captures the mania, with cotton-candy hues representing each of the anthropomorphic days. Though undeniably comical as it unfolds in busy cartoon illustrations and speech balloons, the drawn-out, nonsensical, and unexpected course the narrative takes may be a stretch for youngsters who cannot always distinguish among days. Kindness as the ingredient for achieving a harmonious week is nevertheless a valuable message, however circuitously expressed. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 50% of actual size.)

A humorous, meandering approach to a life lesson about leading every day with benevolence. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-525-55424-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more