Uninspired illustrations and an unrealistic conclusion make this one to pass on.

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THE SILLY MONSTER

From the Little Monsters series

A little girl becomes “the silly monster” after she returns oversugared and overexcited from a birthday party.

In this board book, Tilly returns from a birthday party, bag of candy in hand, and becomes the titular monster—illustrated with corresponding illustrations of a red monster with blue spots—jumping on the couch and bugging her brother. Her father’s intervention turns the monster back into Tilly with some quiet time. Adult readers will be familiar with this “silly monster” that often overtakes their child, and children may be familiar with the feelings of post-party mania. What’s lacking in Bucknell’s text, however, is a mechanism to help young readers understand and own these feelings. The book ends with Tilly’s unrealistic promise to her father that the silly monster won’t ever return again rather than a reinforcement of the calming practices she’ll use the next time she turns into the monster, because readers certainly know she will. Seal’s cutesy illustrations appear on stark white backgrounds, and while they do include some nice details, they do little to invite readers to linger on pages. Tilly has pale skin and dirty-blonde hair, while her father has light-brown skin and brown hair. Simultaneously publishing titles feature the lazy, sleepy, and hungry monsters and follow the same concept and structure: A child overcome by a “monster” is guided back by a parent.

Uninspired illustrations and an unrealistic conclusion make this one to pass on. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4867-1519-0

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Flowerpot Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original...

A KISSING HAND FOR CHESTER RACCOON

From the Kissing Hand series

A sweetened, condensed version of the best-selling picture book, The Kissing Hand.

As in the original, Chester Raccoon is nervous about attending Owl’s night school (raccoons are nocturnal). His mom kisses him on the paw and reminds him, “With a Kissing Hand… / We’ll never be apart.” The text boils the story down to its key elements, causing this version to feel rushed. Gone is the list of fun things Chester will get to do at school. Fans of the original may be disappointed that this board edition uses a different illustrator. Gibson’s work is equally sentimental, but her renderings are stiff and flat in comparison to the watercolors of Harper and Leak. Very young readers will probably not understand that Owl’s tree, filled with opossums, a squirrel, a chipmunk and others, is supposed to be a school.

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original shouldn’t look to this version as replacement for their page-worn copies. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933718-77-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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