A fine celebration of freedom, creativity, and self-expression.

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A girl learns to appreciate paintings that come from her own brush in this children’s picture book.

Scarlet, a freckle-faced, redheaded white girl, once found a magic paintbrush, and ever since, she’s been able to make any image appear perfectly on her canvases. But one day, the brush can’t be found. Her parents give her new paintbrushes, but Scarlet finds her efforts disappointing because the images aren’t “perfect”—or often, even recognizable. She tries painting with her left hand or using a stick-and–cotton-ball implement, but perfection still eludes her. Nevertheless, she does like her new, strong lines and bold shapes. When she rediscovers the lost brush, there’s a problem: The “perfect” paintings aren’t exactly what Scarlet wants. With a regular brush, though, she can create the shapes and hues she now likes—with her own magic. Perfectionism can start young, so Stoller (Return to Coney Island, 2017, etc.) provides a useful change of perspective in this book. Although it might seem desirable to have a brush that can create faultless images, Scarlet is shown to discover a greater power in making art herself. Sonke’s (The Little i Who Lost His Dot, 2018) kinetic, detailed illustrations do a great job of conveying Scarlet’s artistic journey from the conventional to freely swirling shapes and bright colors.

A fine celebration of freedom, creativity, and self-expression.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-946101-67-9

Page Count: 38

Publisher: Spork

Review Posted Online: Aug. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018


From the Who's in Your Book? series

Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit.

Readers try to dislodge a monster from the pages of this emotive and interactive read-aloud.

“OH NO!” the story starts. “There’s a monster in your book!” The blue, round-headed monster with pink horns and a pink-tipped tail can be seen cheerfully munching on the opening page. “Let’s try to get him out,” declares the narrator. Readers are encouraged to shake, tilt, and spin the book around, while the monster careens around an empty background looking scared and lost. Viewers are exhorted to tickle the monster’s feet, blow on the page, and make a really loud noise. Finally, shockingly, it works: “Now he’s in your room!” But clearly a monster in your book is safer than a monster in your room, so he’s coaxed back into the illustrations and lulled to sleep, curled up under one page and cuddling a bit of another like a child with their blankie. The monster’s entirely cute appearance and clear emotional reactions to his treatment add to the interactive aspect, and some young readers might even resist the instructions to avoid hurting their new pal. Children will be brought along on the monster’s journey, going from excited, noisy, and wiggly to calm and steady (one can hope).

Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6456-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017


More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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