The message that real friends value their pals most for being themselves couldn’t be delivered by a cuter button.

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The most charming button in picture books returns for a “Gift of the Magi”–style Christmas tale in this sequel.

Norman the Button is happy with his new life as a nose for Freddy Teddy. The two are inseparable—that is, until bedtime. The stuffed bear’s awful snoring keeps Norman up at night, so he sleeps on his own in a dollhouse. One night, Norman overhears Freddy telling the rest of the toys that he has the perfect Christmas present for his close friend. Norman frantically tries to come up with a terrific gift for Freddy, but a car proves too expensive, a cellphone on sale turns out to be worthless, and the cake the button attempts to bake—complete with raw bacon and unbroken egg—is a disaster. Norman feels that the homemade present he finally concocts isn’t good enough for his pal. Luckily, Freddy truly appreciates Norman’s talents and loves his gift. Olson’s (Norman, 2018) signature puns (jokes the two friends read together put Norman “in stitches”; the snacks they share make Freddy “stuffed”) are fewer than in the first volume. But Norman’s misadventures help him learn to value his own talents and deftly reinforce the themes of the original story. The author’s posed photographs with digitally illustrated details are gloriously silly and sure to give adults giggles alongside their children.

The message that real friends value their pals most for being themselves couldn’t be delivered by a cuter button.

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73237-073-9

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Bellie Button Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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With the same delightfully irreverent spirit that he brought to his retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" (1987), Marshall enlivens another favorite. Although completely retold with his usual pungent wit and contemporary touches ("I don't mind if I do," says Goldilocks, as she tries out porridge, chair, and bed), Marshall retains the stories well-loved pattern, including Goldilocks escaping through the window (whereupon Baby Bear inquires, "Who was that little girl?"). The illustrations are fraught with delicious humor and detail: books that are stacked everywhere around the rather cluttered house, including some used in lieu of a missing leg for Papa Bear's chair; comically exaggerated beds—much too high at the head and the foot; and Baby Bear's wonderfully messy room, which certainly brings the story into the 20th century. Like its predecessor, perfect for several uses, from picture-book hour to beginning reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1988

ISBN: 0140563660

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1988

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Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children.


On hot summer nights, Amani’s parents permit her to go outside and play in the apartment courtyard, where the breeze is cool and her friends are waiting.

The children jump rope to the sounds of music as it floats through a neighbor’s window, gaze at stars in the night sky, and play hide-and-seek in the moonlight. It is in the moonlight that Amani and her friends are themselves found by the moon, and it illumines the many shades of their skin, which vary from light tan to deep brown. In a world where darkness often evokes ideas of evil or fear, this book is a celebration of things that are dark and beautiful—like a child’s dark skin and the night in which she plays. The lines “Show everyone else how to embrace the night like you. Teach them how to be a night-owning girl like you” are as much an appeal for her to love and appreciate her dark skin as they are the exhortation for Amani to enjoy the night. There is a sense of security that flows throughout this book. The courtyard is safe and homelike. The moon, like an additional parent, seems to be watching the children from the sky. The charming full-bleed illustrations, done in washes of mostly deep blues and greens, make this a wonderful bedtime story.

Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55271-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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