Gourmets of all things gross will sniff at this.

READ REVIEW

RUNAWAY BOOGER

While Mom’s away, Dad and the kids will play.

Following reminders not to pick their noses or play ball in the house, hardly is Mom out the door before the narrator, his sister, and Dad pull out industrial quantities of green goo, shape it into a massive ball, break a vase (“ ‘She’ll kill us,’ Dad shrieked”) and—uh oh, there it goes out the window. “ ‘It’s heading to town,’ I yelled. ‘Quick, get your bikes.’ / But our slippery snot-rocket was leaving our sight.” Having picked up pets, underwear, and miscellaneous litter on its way, the giga-greenie reaches town, where Mom (of course) is waiting to swat it into outer space with a big stick. She gets a Booger Blaster medal, and all is forgiven. Young audiences might forgive Richtel’s cavalier attitude toward rhyme and regular metrics, but after a promisingly icky prefatory table of booger types, Wildish turns in a lackluster loogie that looks more like papier-mâché or a boulder-sized, oddly colored meatball than anything truly worth gagging at. And do readers really need yet another doofus dad? A “postman” and two other figures are brown-skinned in an otherwise all-white cast.

Gourmets of all things gross will sniff at this. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-234984-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2016

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While simplistic, it’s a serviceable starter for discussions of spectrum disorders with younger neurotypical audiences.

ISAAC AND HIS AMAZING ASPERGER SUPERPOWERS!

Isaac explains why he wears a mask and cape and sometimes has special needs.

Packaged between rainbow-striped endpapers, this purposeful monologue offers a mix of positive takes—“I’ve got special superpowers that make me slightly different from my brother and the other kids at school”—and coping strategies. Among these latter are looking at foreheads rather than directly at eyes, which makes him “feel scared,” and keeping personal comments “inside my head so that I don’t upset people.” In the big, simple illustrations, Walsh gives Isaac uniformly smiling pets and peers for company, and she shows him less than cheerful only once, when the buzzing of fluorescent lights “makes my ears really hurt.” At the end he explains that he has Asperger’s, “which is a kind of autism,” and closes by affirming that his brother understands him, “and now you do too!” That may be overstating the case, but Isaac comes off as less inscrutable than the children in Gail Watts’ Kevin Thinks (2012) or Davene Fahy and Carol Inouye’s Anthony Best (2013). That the book is aimed not at children on the spectrum but at their peers is made explicit in a jacket-flap note from the author, whose son has Asperger’s.

While simplistic, it’s a serviceable starter for discussions of spectrum disorders with younger neurotypical audiences. (URL list) (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 22, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8121-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2016

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This spin on a familiar comical trope offers some chuckles, but the valuation of conformity over personal choice may leave...

THE BOY WITH THE BIG HAIR

An unkempt lad with a deep aversion to combs and brushes learns his lesson when birds take up residence on his head.

Unlike many other takes on this popular premise, which are spun into celebrations of individuality, Le crafts from it a cautionary tale. Harry’s refusal to let anyone tame his wild mane not only results in a nickname of “Hairy,” but draws a pair of doves who in time raise such a noisy family that he’s thrown out of choir practice at school. Worse yet, a tree grows (rather suddenly) atop his noggin—providing both room for more nesting couples as well as branches on which all sorts of errant clothing and bric-a-brac catch. But it’s the continual noise that at last drives him to let his mom replant the tree and scissor down his thatch. The accomplished, artfully mottled illustrations feature lots of white birds and short-haired, light-skinned children flocking around a button-eyed lad with a grayish-brown mop and an unhappy moue. In the end Harry’s frown is transformed into a smile beneath a cutely fringed bowl cut more consistent with what his peers are sporting, and the avian chatter becomes “happy songs.”

This spin on a familiar comical trope offers some chuckles, but the valuation of conformity over personal choice may leave readers scratching their heads—and maybe wondering where cleanliness, never mentioned, comes in. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 14, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-60887-733-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Insight Editions

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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