From the Block Books series

The book demands familiarity with the films; the youngest Star Wars fans will find much to pore over.

A compendium of people, places, and things found in the Star Wars movies.

After a brief two-paragraph introduction resembling the movies’ iconic text crawl, readers meet a variety of characters, from The Phantom Menace to The Force Awakens, with a nod to Rogue One. As with other Block Book titles, this is organized in sequences of double-page spreads. The first spread shows a close-up (BB-8, for example), with the recto’s edge cut to outline it. On the following pages, the camera pulls back to a scene with other characters (Unkar Plutt, a happabore) and their vehicles (a speeder) or accessories; an icon with the planet’s name (Jakku) floats against the scene. While the shaped pages provide some page-turn ease, the visuals and text from the next spread peek through, to sometimes-confusing effect; Han Solo looks as if he is as large as the Millennium Falcon, for instance. Peskimo’s illustrations are the stars here, creating friendly heroes and softening the villains (particularly Darths Maul and Vader) with swaths of flat, muted, subtly textured colors. A final double gatefold shows sundry villains all captioned “Fear,” while the inside, labeled “Hope,” presents a gallery of human, alien, and droid heroes. Here’s hoping the 2-inch-thick binding will hold up to the enthusiasm of young fans.

The book demands familiarity with the films; the youngest Star Wars fans will find much to pore over. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2831-0

Page Count: 104

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018


From the Big Bright Feelings series

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance.

A boy with wings learns to be himself and inspires others like him to soar, too.

Norman, a “perfectly normal” boy, never dreamed he might grow wings. Afraid of what his parents might say, he hides his new wings under a big, stuffy coat. Although the coat hides his wings from the world, Norman no longer finds joy in bathtime, playing at the park, swimming, or birthday parties. With the gentle encouragement of his parents, who see his sadness, Norman finds the courage to come out of hiding and soar. Percival (The Magic Looking Glass, 2017, etc.) depicts Norman with light skin and dark hair. Black-and-white illustrations show his father with dark skin and hair and his mother as white. The contrast of black-and-white illustrations with splashes of bright color complements the story’s theme. While Norman tries to be “normal,” the world and people around him look black and gray, but his coat stands out in yellow. Birds pop from the page in pink, green, and blue, emphasizing the joy and beauty of flying free. The final spread, full of bright color and multiracial children in flight, sets the mood for Norman’s realization on the last page that there is “no such thing as perfectly normal,” but he can be “perfectly Norman.”

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-785-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018


From the Who's in Your Book? series

A simple but important lesson about anxiety that will speak to young worrywarts everywhere.

A troubled little unicorn needs serious help.

There are “worry gremlins” all around threatening his peace of mind. Kids will feel engaged and empowered as they follow the directions to get these gremlins out of the picture. Young readers are told to “wiggle your fingers to make some magic dust,” tickle the unicorn, tell him a joke, and shake the book. None of these tactics quite do the trick, since the gremlins keep coming back and Unicorn’s horn gets stuck in the page. A gentler shake frees the horn, and the text offers another solution, one that kids can take to heart—“The best way to get rid of a worry is to tell someone about it.” Luckily, Unicorn’s friend Monster, an innocuous blue being with tiny pink horns, is there for Unicorn to whisper his worries to. Readers are also urged to whisper something encouraging to Unicorn, who thereafter feels much better. Fears allayed, he and his friends indulge in an exuberant celebration. Kids can join in as they happily sing together against a double-page spread of stars, rays of light, fairies, and disappearing gremlins. The digital illustrations are humorous, and varying typefaces and energetic page reveals add to the fun. This entry in the Who’s in Your Book? series follows the same pattern as the others and includes characters from the previous books.

A simple but important lesson about anxiety that will speak to young worrywarts everywhere. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-43476-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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