An imperfect read-aloud that celebrates the spectrum of a child’s experiences.

We all have our good days and bad days.

Two children, one cued as a girl and the other as a boy, navigate the ups and downs of everyday emotions. “Some days are chocolate pudding pie days. / Kites up in the sky days. / Jumping super high days.” Each double-page spread is narrated in similar rhyming triplets and is brightly illustrated with cartoon stylings that are dedicated to celebrating simple joys. There are a few extraordinary experiences—“Some days are picking out a pup days,” in which the children are at an adoption center, literally dog-piled by adorable puppies—that cause the rhyme to spread out over multiple spreads. The primary focus, however, is on emotions commonly experienced at school, home, and other public places. More importantly, it acknowledges that “Some days are feeling kind of mad days,” in which the girl scribbles angrily with crayons, and “Feeling all alone days,” which shows the girl sadly curled up in bed with her bunny. Unfortunately, “Sorry to be bad days” supports the notion that a child (rather than a deed) can be “bad.” The title concludes with “Learning to be me days,” signaling that these emotions are ongoing and natural. The girl has pale skin and long black hair in pigtails, while the boy has brown skin and tightly curled black hair. Whether they are neighborhood friends or siblings in a multiracial family is unclear.

An imperfect read-aloud that celebrates the spectrum of a child’s experiences. (Picture books. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2620-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019


Safe to creep on by.

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2021



Whether spoken by a dinosaur or a human, this parental message clearly radiates “I’ve loved you from the start.”

The cover’s glowing golden stars are but a small hint of the parent-child love inside.

In this companion book to the creators’ I Love You, My Little Unicorn (2022), a world full of digitally created dinosaurs illustrated in eye-catching colors dominates the pages. From the start, it’s clear that dinosaur parents have the same hopes and dreams for their offspring that human parents do. Readers don’t have to be dinosaur fans to smile when the parent-and-child dinosaur pairs playfully interact and share loving glances. Take special note of the ankylosauruses, whose tails arc to form a heart beneath a sky filled with heart-shaped clouds. The text in verse shares words of unconditional parental love and support and wisdom (“please remember all these things / that I want you to know”), appropriate for humans and dinos alike. “Roar with all your might!” “Spread your wings and fly.” “Use your voice, and ask for help.” There’s even a caveat that some “days will be dark / and other shades of gray.” But “there’s always brightness up ahead.” While the loving sentiments in the storytelling are clear, words are sometimes inverted to make the rhyme work, and the verse doesn’t always follow a consistent meter, but prereading will let the story shine during quiet snuggle times.

Whether spoken by a dinosaur or a human, this parental message clearly radiates “I’ve loved you from the start.” (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781728268361

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023

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