Engaging for climbers and dreamers alike.



A young tree lover finds a way to climb into the leafy branches even when she is sick and confined indoors.

In an early double-page spread, Lulu, a small redheaded white girl, can be seen standing in her bare feet on the left-hand page: “When Lulu sees a climbing tree, / she’s here” and on the right-hand page, peering out from the leafy branches of a tree: “and then she’s gone, just like that.” Lulu scrambles up even the tallest trees—she rescues cats and kites, and sometimes she lies along a branch like Philippe Petit on a high wire, leaves in her hair. Hooper’s digitally rendered bold lines and warm colors celebrate Lulu’s trees: strong twisted trunks, straight trunks, evergreen boughs, broad leaves. Big and little children, mostly white though there are a few children of color, gather under the trees. The houses are spaced generously apart and a Royal typewriter and a camera sit on Lulu’s bookcase, giving the setting a timeless feel. Lulu’s sadness indoors is conveyed through her separation from the tree by her window, and only the sun and later the moon climb the branches. But the foliage shadow on Lulu’s wall is invitingly dense, broad-branched, and full of golden light—enticing for a girl whose imagination is as nimble as she is.

Engaging for climbers and dreamers alike. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 8, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62672-352-8

Page Count: 45

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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This deeply satisfying story offers what all children crave when letting go—security and a trusted companion.

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The stages and script preceding this child’s passage into dreamland are so appealing they will surely inspire imitation.

When the protagonist announces that she is not sleepy, her wise parents counter that they are not requiring sleep, only pajama-wearing, face-washing and teeth-brushing. She then feels so good that “she loved / …stretching her toes / down under the crisp sheets, / lying as still as an otter / floating in a stream.” Logue’s words lull and caress as parents and child converse about how and where animals sleep. (Many appeared on earlier pages as toys.) Alone, the youngster replays each scene, inserting herself; the cozy images help her relax. Zagarenski’s exquisite compositions are rendered digitally and in mixed-media on wood, offering much to ponder. The paintings are luminous, from the child’s starry pajamas to the glowing whale supporting her sleep journey. Transparent layers, blending patterns, complex textures and wheeled objects add to the sense of gentle movement. The tiger, both the beloved cloth version and the real deal, is featured prominently; it is the child who contributes this example, narrating the connection between strength and rest. When sleep arrives, the stuffed animal is cradled in her arms; she leans against the jungle beast, and he clings to her doll.

This deeply satisfying story offers what all children crave when letting go—security and a trusted companion. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-547-64102-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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Share this one with kids who have very particular tastes.


On his first day of school, a boy uses his favorite thing in the world to make new friends.

Teddy loves three things: his red cape, his yellow rain boots, and spaghetti, which he could eat all day. Teddy isn’t exactly finicky; he likes “spaghetti with red sauce and meatballs…with white sauce with clams…or even with eggs and bacon!” But today the ordinarily happy kid is feeling a bit unnerved: It’s his first day of school. Mom encourages him to just be himself, and by doing so, he quickly gains new friends. But at lunch, the school bully approaches, hurling the titular epithet. Teddy freezes, but his new friends don’t; they are full of compliments for Teddy’s warm, fabulous spaghetti lunch. Teddy invites them to dig in—there’s plenty. And when Bryan the bully asks in a whisper if he might have some, Teddy even shares with him and tells him he loves his new nickname. In Andriani’s cartoon illustrations, the expressive faces and, appropriately, the spaghetti are especial delights. Teddy and his mother have light skin; his classroom is diverse. This mother-daughter collaboration is sweet but slight and unrealistic. With food allergies on the rise, many schools have banned food sharing, and the ease with which the kids deal with the bully is unbelievable. Moreover, while food-shaming is a depressingly common phenomenon, it is rarely the white kid with spaghetti and marinara sauce who is the target.

Share this one with kids who have very particular tastes. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-291542-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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