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THE TALL MAN AND THE SMALL MOUSE

Sweet fun for storytime and bedtime.

When the titular tall man and small mouse finally discover they’ve been sharing a house, they quickly become collaborators.

The book begins with the pleasant sound of a nursery rhyme: “On a tall hill / in a tall house / lived a tall man / and a small mouse.” Here and throughout, the text is large, easily seen against pale backgrounds. Whimsical, lightly lined drawings with watercolor washes keep the mood light and comforting. The tall man—who is white and also comically thin—does “tall things / that needed doing,” such as picking apples and rescuing cats and kites from trees. The small mouse, who creeps around the house while the man sleeps, wears a dress and a hooded cape from which large, white ears protrude. She excels at getting into tiny spaces and moving small items, restoring lost bits and pieces to the man. The minor crisis of the book occurs when, after a long day of effort, the tall man cannot figure out how to fix the town’s tower clock. (There is no evidence of anyone else worrying whether the clock works, but it’s obviously important to the tall man.) A funny sequence of vignettes as he gets dressed the next morning concludes with him almost stepping on the mouse, who had been sleeping in his tall, old-fashioned shoe. Gentle rhymes and rhythm combine with equally gentle art as the two characters become a working team and then friends.

Sweet fun for storytime and bedtime. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0168-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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IZZY GIZMO AND THE INVENTION CONVENTION

From the Izzy Gizmo series

A disappointing follow-up.

Inventor Izzy Gizmo is back in this sequel to her eponymous debut (2017).

While busily inventing one day, Izzy receives an invitation from the Genius Guild to their annual convention. Though Izzy’s “inventions…don’t always work,” Grandpa (apparently her sole caregiver) encourages her to go. The next day they undertake a long journey “over fields, hills, and waves” and “mile after mile” to isolated Technoff Isle. There, Izzy finds she must compete against four other kids to create the most impressive machine. The colorful, detail-rich illustrations chronicle how poor Izzy is thwarted at every turn by Abi von Lavish, a Veruca Salt–esque character who takes all the supplies for herself. But when Abi abandons her project, Izzy salvages the pieces and decides to take Grandpa’s advice to create a machine that “can really be put to good use.” A frustrated Izzy’s impatience with a friend almost foils her chance at the prize, but all’s well that ends well. There’s much to like: Brown-skinned inventor girl Izzy is an appealing character, it’s great to see a nurturing brown-skinned male caregiver, the idea of an “Invention Convention” is fun, and a sustainable-energy invention is laudable. However, these elements don’t make up for rhymes that often feel forced and a lackluster story.

A disappointing follow-up. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68263-164-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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WOO HOO! YOU'RE DOING GREAT!

WOO-HOO! This is the perfect way to foster healthy self-esteem in little ones.

What’s better than a cheerleading chicken?

Are you ever blue, unsure, tired, or overworked? Do you ever feel lost or overwhelmed? This uplifting book, expressed in delightful, jaunty verse, explains how to lift your spirits pronto: What you need is a booster chicken telling you’re doing great even when you’re not so confident, as when you’re learning or practicing a new skill, for instance. Your feathered champion will be right there, encouraging you all the way, with a loud “WOO HOO!” that’ll keep you going and remove any doubt you’re super terrific. But what if your cheerful chick errs and doesn’t do what it set out to do? Don’t worry—your cheery chicken just needs a reminder that everyone makes mistakes. That alone is a pep talk, enhanced by the wisdom that making mistakes allows everyone to learn and demonstrate they did their best. So forgive yourself, chickens! But the best thing is…instead of relying on someone else—like a chicken—to strengthen your ego, say a generous daily “WOO HOO!” to yourself. This riotous book hits all the right notes and does so succinctly and hilariously. The energetic, comical illustrations, in Boynton’s signature style, will elicit giggles and go far to make the book’s important point. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

WOO-HOO! This is the perfect way to foster healthy self-esteem in little ones. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 4, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-316-48679-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2023

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