Blooms quickly and keeps growing on you.


A child nurtures a houseplant as a beloved pet.

Luna’s red brick apartment building on a tree-lined urban street doesn’t allow pets, so she and two friends brainstorm and reject ideas, like a pet rock and an ant farm. Luna eventually decides to adopt a plant she finds in a trash can. The rest of the story centers, without much drama, on Luna’s activities with Stephanie, which is short for the plant’s scientific name, Stephanotis floribunda. Luna matter-of-factly takes Stephanie for walks in a wagon and reads her bedtime stories—which could inspire children to expand their notion of caring beyond furry animals, family members, and friends. Luna’s deep love for Stephanie may also spur readers to focus less on the flashy perks of a pet, like whether they can do tricks, and more on their love for their pet (fauna or flora). The text is thoughtfully and efficiently used, working fabulously with gentle illustrations, which appear to be rendered in colored pencil. Most importantly, kids growing up in cities and apartment buildings and who, like Luna, can’t keep pets will emerge with some creative ideas about how to find companionship. Backmatter discusses the benefits of houseplants and offers additional background about the Stephanotis plant. Luna is brown-skinned, one of her friends is light-skinned, and the other is darker-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Blooms quickly and keeps growing on you. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5341-1161-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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A straightforward tale of conflict and reconciliation for newly emergent readers? Not exactly, which raises it above the...


In this deceptively spare, very beginning reader, a girl assembles a robot and then treats it like a slave until it goes on strike.

Having put the robot together from a jumble of loose parts, the budding engineer issues an increasingly peremptory series of rhymed orders— “Throw, Bot. / Row, Bot”—that turn from playful activities like chasing bubbles in the yard to tasks like hoeing the garden, mowing the lawn and towing her around in a wagon. Jung crafts a robot with riveted edges, big googly eyes and a smile that turns down in stages to a scowl as the work is piled on. At last, the exhausted robot plops itself down, then in response to its tormentor’s angry “Don’t say no, Bot!” stomps off in a huff. In one to four spacious, sequential panels per spread, Jung develops both the plotline and the emotional conflict using smoothly modeled cartoon figures against monochromatic or minimally detailed backgrounds. The child’s commands, confined in small dialogue balloons, are rhymed until her repentant “Come on home, Bot” breaks the pattern but leads to a more equitable division of labor at the end.

A straightforward tale of conflict and reconciliation for newly emergent readers? Not exactly, which raises it above the rest. (Easy reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 25, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-87083-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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Uncomplicated and worthwhile for any age.


Parr focuses his simplistic childlike art and declarative sentences on gratitude for the pleasures and wonders of a child’s everyday life.

Using images of both kids and animals, each colorful scene in bold primary colors declaims a reason to be thankful. “I am thankful for my hair because it makes me unique” shows a yellow-faced child with a wild purple coiffure, indicating self-esteem. An elephant with large pink ears happily exclaims, “I am thankful for my ears because they let me hear words like ‘I love you.’ ” Humor is interjected with, “I am thankful for underwear because I like to wear it on my head.” (Parents will hope that it is clean, but potty-humor–loving children probably won’t care.) Children are encouraged to be thankful for feet, music, school, vacations and the library, “because it is filled with endless adventures,” among other things. The book’s cheery, upbeat message is clearly meant to inspire optimistic gratitude; Parr exhorts children to “remember some [things to be thankful for] every day.”

Uncomplicated and worthwhile for any age. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-316-18101-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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