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...

A PLACE TO READ

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. 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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Fun, fun, fun all through the town!

THE HIPS ON THE DRAG QUEEN GO SWISH, SWISH, SWISH

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. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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A lightweight fear-dispeller, without the gun violence that now makes Mercer Mayer’s There’s a Nightmare in My Closet (1968)...

MONSTERS AREN'T REAL

Beaten down by a ubiquitous chorus of denials (see title), a monster suffers an existential crisis.

Surrounded by emphatic claims that it doesn’t even exist, a monster sets out not only to prove the contrary, but to establish its scariness credentials too. Alas, neither blasting the world with graffiti and printed fliers nor rearing up menacingly over a baby in a carriage, children at the barre in a ballet class and other supposedly susceptible victims elicits any response. Juggling some cows attracts attention but not the terrified kind. But the monster’s final despairing surrender—“That’s it! It’s over! I give up! ... /  Monsters aren’t real (sniff)”—triggers an indignant denial of a different sort from a second, smaller but wilder-looking, creature. It takes the first in hand and leads it off, declaring “We’re two big, strong, scary monsters, and we’ll prove it.” In truth, it won’t escape even very young readers that neither is particularly scary-looking. Indeed, the protagonist-monster is depicted in the sparsely detailed cartoon illustrations as a furry, almost cuddly, bearlike hulk with light-blue spots, antlers and comically googly eyes, certain to provoke more giggles than screams.

A lightweight fear-dispeller, without the gun violence that now makes Mercer Mayer’s There’s a Nightmare in My Closet (1968) so discomfiting. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-61067-073-9

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2012

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