SUPER-COMPLETELY AND TOTALLY THE MESSIEST

Viorst’s tale of two sisters comically captures the vast diversity in personality that can exist between siblings. Olivia, the narrator and older of the two, regales readers with the misadventures of her younger sibling, Sophie. Olivia is neat while Sophie is decidedly not—and therein lies the source of potential discord. Like a seasoned attorney, Olivia presents her case to the reader, offering, albeit unintentionally, one more hilarious tale after another in an attempt to depict Sophie’s haphazard existence. A quintessential pre-adolescent, Olivia’s diatribe is liberally sprinkled with youthful exuberance and exaggeration, containing fine examples of sibling disdain. “No, I’m NOT a rude person. I would never, ever, EVER call Sophie a pig. I’m only saying that PIGS think Sophie’s a pig.” While addressing readers in a chummy, just-between-us manner, Olivia’s tone comes across rather overbearing and superior. Yet here too Viorst has taken a page from real life, for what older sibling doesn’t harbor some feelings of superiority over their hapless younger relations? However, the vivacious Sophie is truly irrepressible, enthusiastically charging forward to embrace life’s offerings, and even Olivia ultimately has to acknowledge her younger sister’s nobler attributes. Finely detailed with a keen comic undertone, Glasser’s drawings are a perfect fit for Viorst’s wry tale. Pen-and-ink drawings come to life with vivid splashes of watercolors, which fill in only certain portions of the illustrations. Brimming with an abundance of visual sallies, these pages are as much fun for readers to examine as to hear. While cleaning fanatics will empathize with Olivia, the rest of the population will be longing to make the lively, free-spirited Sophie their new best friend. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-82941-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2001

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Well-meaning and with a lovely presentation, this sentimental effort may be aimed more at adults than kids.

MY LITTLE BRAVE GIRL

Little girls are given encouragement and assurance so they can meet the challenges of life as they move through the big, wide world.

Delicately soft watercolor-style art depicts naturalistic scenes with a diverse quintet of little girls portraying potential situations they will encounter, as noted by a narrative heavily dependent on a series of clichés. “The stars are high, and you can reach them,” it promises as three of the girls chase fireflies under a star-filled night sky. “Oceans run deep, and you will learn to swim,” it intones as one girl treads water and another leans over the edge of a boat to observe life on the ocean floor. “Your feet will take many steps, my brave little girl. / Let your heart lead the way.” Girls gingerly step across a brook before making their way through a meadow. The point of all these nebulous metaphors seems to be to inculcate in girls the independence, strength, and confidence they’ll need to succeed in their pursuits. Trying new things, such as foods, is a “delicious new adventure.” Though the quiet, gentle text is filled with uplifting words that parents will intuitively relate to or comprehend, the esoteric messages may be a bit sentimental and ambiguous for kids to understand or even connect to. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.5-by-19-inch double-page spreads viewed at 50% of actual size.)

Well-meaning and with a lovely presentation, this sentimental effort may be aimed more at adults than kids. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-30072-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy.

ROBOBABY

Robo-parents Diode and Lugnut present daughter Cathode with a new little brother—who requires, unfortunately, some assembly.

Arriving in pieces from some mechanistic version of Ikea, little Flange turns out to be a cute but complicated tyke who immediately falls apart…and then rockets uncontrollably about the room after an overconfident uncle tinkers with his basic design. As a squad of helpline techies and bevies of neighbors bearing sludge cake and like treats roll in, the cluttered and increasingly crowded scene deteriorates into madcap chaos—until at last Cath, with help from Roomba-like robodog Sprocket, stages an intervention by whisking the hapless new arrival off to a backyard workshop for a proper assembly and software update. “You’re such a good big sister!” warbles her frazzled mom. Wiesner’s robots display his characteristic clean lines and even hues but endearingly look like vaguely anthropomorphic piles of random jet-engine parts and old vacuum cleaners loosely connected by joints of armored cable. They roll hither and thither through neatly squared-off panels and pages in infectiously comical dismay. Even the end’s domestic tranquility lasts only until Cathode spots the little box buried in the bigger one’s packing material: “TWINS!” (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 52% of actual size.)

A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-544-98731-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more