Kids are likely to want to mimic the pseudo musical chairs device, and the story will be just as much fun to share with a...

Finding the perfect comfortable place to read can be a problem, as a young reader discovers.

“When I want to read, what I REALLY REALLY need is a place to sit.” As the black-haired, paper-white child tries out a number of chairs, in each case something is bothersome: the first one tried is “comfy” but “buzz-buzzy,” as a bee zooms by. In each scene the child sits in a different chair, but something is wrong. One is too itchy, and another is both dark and noisy. “GIANT STOMPING boots" make another setting inhospitable to reading, and a chair next to the garbage can just will not do. Seat after seat is pronounced unsuitable, until….“But wait, hang on—YES THAT’S IT! It doesn’t matter where you sit… / a book is best anywhere…a book is best when you SHARE.” Though the plot’s not much to speak of, this extended, playful reading-centered riff on “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” is enlivened by the quirky multimedia art in sophisticated, earthy colors that reflect the author/illustrator’s animation background. Busy patterns and unexpected angles make each page a seek-and-find exercise, and the child picks up a new animal friend, unmentioned in the text, in each scene. The clever page design flaunts bouncy, vigorous typefaces.

Kids are likely to want to mimic the pseudo musical chairs device, and the story will be just as much fun to share with a group as one-on-one. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68119-323-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017


Mixed-race children certainly deserve mirror books, but they also deserve excellent text and illustrations. This one misses...

This tan-skinned, freckle-faced narrator extols her own virtues while describing the challenges of being of mixed race.

Protagonist Lilly appears on the cover, and her voluminous curly, twirly hair fills the image. Throughout the rhyming narrative, accompanied by cartoonish digital illustrations, Lilly brags on her dark skin (that isn’t very), “frizzy, wild” hair, eyebrows, intellect, and more. Her five friends present black, Asian, white (one blonde, one redheaded), and brown (this last uses a wheelchair). This array smacks of tokenism, since the protagonist focuses only on self-promotion, leaving no room for the friends’ character development. Lilly describes how hurtful racial microaggressions can be by recalling questions others ask her like “What are you?” She remains resilient and says that even though her skin and hair make her different, “the way that I look / Is not all I’m about.” But she spends so much time talking about her appearance that this may be hard for readers to believe. The rhyming verse that conveys her self-celebration is often clumsy and forced, resulting in a poorly written, plotless story for which the internal illustrations fall far short of the quality of the cover image.

Mixed-race children certainly deserve mirror books, but they also deserve excellent text and illustrations. This one misses the mark on both counts. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63233-170-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Eifrig

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018


Fun, fun, fun all through the town!

This book’s gonna werk, werk, werk all through Pride Month and beyond.

Drag persona Lil Miss Hot Mess rewrites “The Wheels on the Bus” to create a fun, movement-filled, family-friendly celebration of drag. The text opens with the titular verse to establish the familiar song’s formulaic pattern: “The hips on the drag queen go SWISH, SWISH, SWISH… / ALL THROUGH THE TOWN!” Along the way, more and more drag queens join in the celebration. The unnamed queens proudly display a range of skin tones, sizes, and body modifications to create a diverse cast of realistic characters that could easily be spotted at a Pride event or on RuPaul’s Drag Race. The palette of both costumes and backgrounds is appropriately psychedelic, and there are plenty of jewels going “BLING, BLING, BLING.” Don’t tell the queens, but the flow is the book’s real star, because it encourages natural kinetic participation that will have groups of young readers giggling and miming along with the story. Libraries and bookshops hosting drag-queen storytimes will find this a popular choice, and those celebrating LGBTQ+ heritage will also find this a useful book for the pre-K crowd. Curious children unfamiliar with a drag queen may require a brief explanation, but the spectacle stands up just fine on its own platforms.

Fun, fun, fun all through the town! (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6765-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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