Next book


For families who are just as happy to do without sturm und drang in their new-baby books, this is just the ticket.

A precocious big sister is unimpressed by her baby brother in this slice-of-life picture book on sibling dynamics.

Russo’s cheery gouache paintings depict a world of anthropomorphic bears in which the unnamed narrator rattles off her own accomplishments, comparing baby Peter unfavorably to herself. Doting parents and a Francophone grandmother shower love on both cubs, and Grandma even teaches her French. She uses her bilingual vocabulary to order apple pie à la mode and later to convey her dismay when chicken pox prevent her from attending a birthday party: “Quel dommage!” She expresses this same sentiment when ruefully recalling how she’d wished for a baby sister, not a brother, but by book’s end, Peter turns 1, and his big sister imagines all of the things he’ll be able to do as he gets older. While lacking in drama and not breaking much ground in the well-worn new-baby arena, it is refreshing to see a title that stretches the emotional range of the older sibling in such stories. This little girl is not wracked with jealousy; she’s just a little disappointed and unimpressed by her brother since he’s “just a baby.”

For families who are just as happy to do without sturm und drang in their new-baby books, this is just the ticket. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5384-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: Dec. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2011

Next book


Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

Next book


Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

Close Quickview