Those who like their stories full of larger-than-life expression will find an outlet for their efforts.


In this variant of the popular tale of a coat that grows smaller and smaller while never losing its usefulness, a tailor, his wife, his several children, and his goat all participate in the stitchery.

Rhyming couplets follow the family as the father fashions a coat for his son. The son grows too big for the coat, and it is passed on to another son. With its sleeves now torn, the garment goes to a daughter but loses its lining. Another daughter gets to wear it, but the pockets are lost. A mischievous son tears it apart with his wild behavior. Finally, the remnants find a home on various pets and the goat. The text is translated from the Yiddish of a poet and teacher who wrote it in 1931 in her native Poland. The lengthy poem is presented primarily as captions to the graphic panels with occasional speech bubbles within the illustrations. The multisyllabic Yiddish proper names may be a challenge for those not familiar with the language, but an enthusiastic reader can have fun conveying the antics. Kolton’s illustrations have an early-20th-century comics aesthetic. The humans have exaggerated comic features and hairstyles, and the setting has an Old World feel.

Those who like their stories full of larger-than-life expression will find an outlet for their efforts. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68396-267-0

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Fantagraphics Books

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A sweet introduction to sequential art.


What happens if your spaceship crash-lands on an alien planet and your vocabulary happens to be very limited?

A cute-looking, backpack-carrying robot in stylish red boots finds itself stuck on an alien planet when a “Bang! Bang! / Bang! Bang!” sends it scurrying. The story that ensues is told in a simplified comic-book format of one or two panels per page and the occasional double-page spread. The little robot has a vocabulary that consists mainly of one word: “Blip.” Uttered as a statement, a question, or an exclamation, the word is always in a speech bubble, as the form dictates. As the robot wanders along using its one word with the creatures it encounters, it finds itself in all sorts of situations, from the scary to the bewildering. Richards’ dynamic page composition will keep readers engaged, and his very expressive little robot will keep them rooting for a happy ending. Along the way readers will find plenty of details to catch their eyes. Not everything is as it looks. In the end the robot returns to its ship only to find a skirt-wearing robot in stylish orange boots busily fixing its own ship. The happiness they both experience upon finding another of their own kind is expressed in one big and satisfying mutual “BLIP!” While kids won’t pick up much vocabulary, it’s hard to imagine a better lesson in how to read the format.

A sweet introduction to sequential art. (Graphic early reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-935179-98-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: TOON Books & Graphics

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Playful, friendly, goodhearted fun.


The axolotl-cheerleader picture book you didn’t know you were waiting for.

Dewdrop is an anthropomorphic axolotl whose friends are preparing for an underwater “sports festival.” Only Mia, “a weightlifting turtle,” seems involved in any sportsmanship, though, preparing rigorously for a “pebble-throwing contest.” Newman, a newt, is writing “a song to cheer everyone on,” and three minnows are “in charge of food.” As for Dewdrop, the pink, frilled amphibian is “working hard on a cheerleading routine.” While the routine may be intended for contenders in the sports festival, Dewdrop ends up cheering on the other characters as they engage in their own preparations. Dewdrop’s encouraging presence helps them fend off worries and self-doubts. The text in this graphic-novel picture book is delivered via speech balloons, and the cheery comics-style illustrations with their big-eyed characters will capture readers’ attention; Dewdrop is adorable (almost) to the point of twee. Though anthropomorphic, these characters go largely unclothed save Mia’s flower-bedecked sweatband. The underwater setting is mostly cued by gently waving lake plants, though the postures of the minnows as they cook (in impossible cauldrons, but no matter) do give a sense of buoyancy. Although axolotls occur only in Mexico, characterizations are generically normative, with no sense of ethnic distinctiveness.

Playful, friendly, goodhearted fun. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62010-689-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Oni Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet