BUT MOM, EVERYBODY ELSE DOES

In order to convince her mother that her acts and desires are not only legitimate but also universal, a young girl paints humorous and exaggerated pictures to prove her point. When her mother comes into her bedroom and eyes the disaster area, the young girl says, “But Mom, everybody has a messy room,” picturing in her mind (and a large bubble on the page) the various toxic waste sites that are her friends’ rooms and much more lethal than her small clutter. And everyone gets a bigger allowance as images dance in her head of armored cars dropping off great sacks of moola to her friends. And absolutely everyone failed that test at school. She fancies a news reporter delivering the sound bite, “The world was stunned by the news that every child in the universe failed the test . . . ” So it goes through nobody walking to school and everybody sleeping with the dog, nobody has to practice, and everybody can paint better than she can. Cushman’s (What Teachers Can’t Do, p. 814, etc.) illustrations never push too hard for effect and so give credence to the girl’s outrageous conjectures, which serve as bright hailings to a vivid imagination. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-525-46903-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2002

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Sincere and wholehearted.

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I PROMISE

The NBA star offers a poem that encourages curiosity, integrity, compassion, courage, and self-forgiveness.

James makes his debut as a children’s author with a motivational poem touting life habits that children should strive for. In the first-person narration, he provides young readers with foundational self-esteem encouragement layered within basketball descriptions: “I promise to run full court and show up each time / to get right back up and let my magic shine.” While the verse is nothing particularly artful, it is heartfelt, and in her illustrations, Mata offers attention-grabbing illustrations of a diverse and enthusiastic group of children. Scenes vary, including classrooms hung with student artwork, an asphalt playground where kids jump double Dutch, and a gym populated with pint-sized basketball players, all clearly part of one bustling neighborhood. Her artistry brings black and brown joy to the forefront of each page. These children evince equal joy in learning and in play. One particularly touching double-page spread depicts two vignettes of a pair of black children, possibly siblings; in one, they cuddle comfortably together, and in the other, the older gives the younger a playful noogie. Adults will appreciate the closing checklist of promises, which emphasize active engagement with school. A closing note very generally introduces principles that underlie the Lebron James Family Foundation’s I Promise School (in Akron, Ohio). (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 15% of actual size.)

Sincere and wholehearted. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-297106-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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PANDA KISSES

When a young panda asks each of his parents for a kiss, they give him choices: “A soft kiss? / A sweet kiss? / A sticky bamboo treat kiss?” High or low, in the sun or the rain, from a bunny or a fish? In the end the young panda determines that “There are many kisses that will do! / But the best kiss is—from both of you!” A large font, rhythm and rhyme, picture clues and a low word count per page will help emergent readers succeed. Widdowson’s bright illustrations scatter Chinese elements throughout, adding international flair, and sprinkle other animals exchanging smooches for extra interest. A sweet treat to share with a beginning reader. (Early reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 9, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-375-84562-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2008

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