A well-illustrated, informative story about a painful chronic condition.


A girl explains what having a migraine feels like in Harrison’s picture book.

Mia, who has light skin and dark hair, has chronic migraines—“the opposite of fun.” The debilitating condition is more than just a headache, she explains. A migraine is “a full-body pain parade that’ll make your stomach swashbuckle and your skin swelter.” The painful episodes can occur any time, even if you’re “in the middle of biting into the world’s best donut.” Things like the weather, certain smells, and light “can hurt and make a migraine grow.” The senses are often affected, too—migraines “can make you see dots, or stripes or…an aura,” and they can sound like a “rapid heartbeat with the volume turned up, or a ringing bell.” Finally, Mia recommends that if you meet someone with a migraine, “build them a comfy and cozy cave” where they can recuperate. Mia is a spirited protagonist. Her creative language and animated examples are educational and kid-friendly. The story will comfort youngsters with chronic migraines and provide resourceful, helpful insights for friends and family of all ages. Belle’s appealing illustrations, which look hand-painted, offer imaginative scenes. For instance, when Mia explains that a migraine can cause irritation that feels like “a prickly cactus playing hopscotch on your skin,” an anthropomorphic cactus hops on her arm. Bold backdrops and swirls of color, texture, and patterns surround Mia as she describes a migraine’s visual manifestations. Includes a fact sheet from American Migraine Foundation.

A well-illustrated, informative story about a painful chronic condition.

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-954614-35-2

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Warren Publishing, Inc.

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own...


The sturdy Little Blue Truck is back for his third adventure, this time delivering Christmas trees to his band of animal pals.

The truck is decked out for the season with a Christmas wreath that suggests a nose between headlights acting as eyeballs. Little Blue loads up with trees at Toad’s Trees, where five trees are marked with numbered tags. These five trees are counted and arithmetically manipulated in various ways throughout the rhyming story as they are dropped off one by one to Little Blue’s friends. The final tree is reserved for the truck’s own use at his garage home, where he is welcomed back by the tree salestoad in a neatly circular fashion. The last tree is already decorated, and Little Blue gets a surprise along with readers, as tiny lights embedded in the illustrations sparkle for a few seconds when the last page is turned. Though it’s a gimmick, it’s a pleasant surprise, and it fits with the retro atmosphere of the snowy country scenes. The short, rhyming text is accented with colored highlights, red for the animal sounds and bright green for the numerical words in the Christmas-tree countdown.

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own tree that will put a twinkle in a toddler’s eyes. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-32041-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable.


You think you know shapes? Animals? Blend them together, and you might see them both a little differently!

What a mischievous twist on a concept book! With wordplay and a few groan-inducing puns, Neal creates connections among animals and shapes that are both unexpected and so seemingly obvious that readers might wonder why they didn’t see them all along. Of course, a “lazy turtle” meeting an oval would create the side-splitting combo of a “SLOW-VAL.” A dramatic page turn transforms a deeply saturated, clean-lined green oval by superimposing a head and turtle shell atop, with watery blue ripples completing the illusion. Minimal backgrounds and sketchy, impressionistic detailing keep the focus right on the zany animals. Beginning with simple shapes, the geometric forms become more complicated as the book advances, taking readers from a “soaring bird” that meets a triangle to become a “FLY-ANGLE” to a “sleepy lion” nonagon “YAWN-AGON.” Its companion text, Animal Colors, delves into color theory, this time creating entirely hybrid animals, such as the “GREEN WHION” with maned head and whale’s tail made from a “blue whale and a yellow lion.” It’s a compelling way to visualize color mixing, and like Animal Shapes, it’s got verve. Who doesn’t want to shout out that a yellow kangaroo/green moose blend is a “CHARTREUSE KANGAMOOSE”?

Innovative and thoroughly enjoyable. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0534-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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