A springboard (but not much more) for talking to kids about being transgender.

READ REVIEW

I'M NOT A GIRL

A TRANSGENDER STORY

A young transgender boy finds the words to come out to his parents and begin his transition.

At the beginning of the story, the narrator, a white trans boy, knows only that he is “not a girl.” Something is wrong, but he can’t quite name it. Over the course of the book, he comes to be able to say “I am a boy.” At the public pool, he meets new friends, black siblings, and they teach him the word “transgender,” arming him to come out to his parents. The story ends with the most touching of the largely uninspiring illustrations, as the boy smiles at his new haircut in the barbershop mirror. This straightforward coming-out story may be useful as an issue teaching tool, but it doesn’t have the spark that makes a picture book special. It pales when held up to Kyle Lukoff and Kaylani Juanita’s When Aidan Became a Brother (2019), the only real competition in the category of picture books about transgender boys, lacking both the heart and the comfortable trans competency. Verdi and Lyons are careful to neither disparage girls nor fall into the common trap of gender stereotyping trans children, and the first-person narration at first seems like a clever way to obscure the boy’s birth name—but unfortunately, the dreaded name still weasels its way into the didactic text.

A springboard (but not much more) for talking to kids about being transgender. (authors’ notes, illustrator’s note, famous transgender people, resources) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-374-31068-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught...

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A PROBLEM?

A child struggles with the worry and anxiety that come with an unexpected problem.

In a wonderful balance of text and pictures, the team responsible for What Do You Do With an Idea (2014) returns with another book inspiring children to feel good about themselves. A child frets about a problem that won’t go away: “I wished it would just disappear. I tried everything I could to hide from it. I even found ways to disguise myself. But it still found me.” The spare, direct narrative is accompanied by soft gray illustrations in pencil and watercolor. The sepia-toned figure of the child is set apart from the background and surrounded by lots of white space, visually isolating the problem, which is depicted as a purple storm cloud looming overhead. Color is added bit by bit as the storm cloud grows and its color becomes more saturated. With a backpack and umbrella, the child tries to escape the problem while the storm swirls, awash with compass points scattered across the pages. The pages brighten into splashes of yellow as the child decides to tackle the problem head-on and finds that it holds promise for unlooked-for opportunity.

A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught situations, this belongs on the shelf alongside Molly Bang’s Sophie books. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-943-20000-9

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more