Good, good book! (Picture book. 2-5)

READ REVIEW

MAD, MAD BEAR!

From the Bear's Feelings series

Why is Bear so mad?

Readers first encounter Bear in his bedroom, scowling. A flashback (unusual in picture books) explains that he’s mad because he “was the first one to have to leave the park for a nap.” The accompanying art shows Bear being led off the recto and looking back longingly at other cubs on a playground. The text then explains that he tripped and “got an owie on the way home. And then he had to take off his boots and leave his favorite stick outside.” This understated, sympathetic text is extended and enhanced by Gee’s expressive, downright cuddly art, which evokes something of Kevin Henkes’ later style, with a dash of Marla Frazee’s emotive prowess. A zoomed-in portrait of Bear’s pouting face against a dark background brings readers back to the time of the opening spread and reads “Bear thinks it is all no fair.” This may bring to mind really, really angry Sophie and her blazing close-up in Molly Bang’s famous title. Bear’s ensuing tantrum alone in his room might make some wonder where his mother is (it was she who led him off the playground), but she soon reappears to give him lunch and tuck him in for a much-needed nap. When Bear awakens, he’s ready to play outside, refreshed and, like angry Sophie before him, no longer mad.

Good, good book! (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-4971-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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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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Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for...

OLIVER AND HIS EGG

Oliver, of first-day-of-school alligator fame, is back, imagining adventures and still struggling to find balance between introversion and extroversion.

“When Oliver found his egg…” on the playground, mint-green backgrounds signifying Oliver’s flight into fancy slowly grow larger until they take up entire spreads; Oliver’s creature, white and dinosaurlike with orange polka dots, grows larger with them. Their adventures include sharing treats, sailing the seas and going into outer space. A classmate’s yell brings him back to reality, where readers see him sitting on top of a rock. Even considering Schmid’s scribbly style, readers can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he ponders the girl and whether or not to give up his solitary play. “But when Oliver found his rock… // Oliver imagined many adventures // with all his friends!” This last is on a double gatefold that opens to show the children enjoying the creature’s slippery curves. A final wordless spread depicts all the children sitting on rocks, expressions gleeful, wondering, waiting, hopeful. The illustrations, done in pastel pencil and digital color, again make masterful use of white space and page turns, although this tale is not nearly as funny or tongue-in-cheek as Oliver and His Alligator (2013), nor is its message as clear and immediately accessible to children.

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for all children but sadly isn’t. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7573-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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