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TERRIBLE TIM

The mess is good fun, but the story is a bit bland next to the more emotionally intense likes of No, David! and Dinosaur vs....

No need to set off in search of Wild Things when little Tim’s in the vicinity.

For all that the grinning urchin leaves a trail of havoc in his wake, the damage is more the result of boundless high spirits than malice. To go with all the mess, Haworth’s patterned rhyme adds plenty of percussive energy: “Terrible Tim likes to CHOMP! / Terrible Tim likes to STOMP!” This leads to “CHOMP / STOMP / MAKE / BREAK // Terrible, terrible Tim!” Hughes takes the premise as license to strew her household scenes with spatters and scribbles, depict a startled bird pooping into a basket of laundry, and generally leave every room looking like a tornado had visited. Tim does indeed appear to be something of a terror. But unlike David’s, Tim’s evidently single mother takes no proactive role to head off his depredations, existing just to provide reaction shots of theatrical dismay or annoyance, and then to tuck the (briefly) repentant boy into bed after a cuddle. Parent and child are both white, with the same scribbly thatch of reddish hair.

The mess is good fun, but the story is a bit bland next to the more emotionally intense likes of No, David! and Dinosaur vs. Bedtime. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0137-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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IZZY GIZMO AND THE INVENTION CONVENTION

From the Izzy Gizmo series

A disappointing follow-up.

Inventor Izzy Gizmo is back in this sequel to her eponymous debut (2017).

While busily inventing one day, Izzy receives an invitation from the Genius Guild to their annual convention. Though Izzy’s “inventions…don’t always work,” Grandpa (apparently her sole caregiver) encourages her to go. The next day they undertake a long journey “over fields, hills, and waves” and “mile after mile” to isolated Technoff Isle. There, Izzy finds she must compete against four other kids to create the most impressive machine. The colorful, detail-rich illustrations chronicle how poor Izzy is thwarted at every turn by Abi von Lavish, a Veruca Salt–esque character who takes all the supplies for herself. But when Abi abandons her project, Izzy salvages the pieces and decides to take Grandpa’s advice to create a machine that “can really be put to good use.” A frustrated Izzy’s impatience with a friend almost foils her chance at the prize, but all’s well that ends well. There’s much to like: Brown-skinned inventor girl Izzy is an appealing character, it’s great to see a nurturing brown-skinned male caregiver, the idea of an “Invention Convention” is fun, and a sustainable-energy invention is laudable. However, these elements don’t make up for rhymes that often feel forced and a lackluster story.

A disappointing follow-up. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68263-164-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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THERE'S A ROCK CONCERT IN MY BEDROOM

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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