A visual feast for families interested in seeing the Native world through small, kind deeds.


Distinctive illustrations amplify a pointed moral lesson in this Native picture book for kids.

An intergenerational Native family sits in a drum circle on the cover, suggesting the importance of cooperation and community that’s elucidated in the pages that follow. What does it mean to be kind to your family, your elders, your environment, and yourself? In simple, repetitive language, Smith (who is of mixed Cree, Lakota, and Scottish heritage) explores how our behaving with generosity toward others makes us feel happy in return. By helping with laundry, walking the family dog, sharing with friends, and taking food to our elders, we learn that the gift of kindness involves giving and receiving. The first half of the book is constructed entirely on the phrase “I am kind when,” while the second half uses “I feel.” Strung together, the simple statements have the resonance of affirmations and establish a clear chain of connectedness, but there is no story arc in the conventional sense. What the book lacks in plot, it makes up for with its illustrations. Drawing on her mother’s Diné traditions, Neidhardt prominently features Navajo hair buns, moccasins, and baskets; a panoply of Indigenous characters—including one child who uses a wheelchair—is featured in rich detail. A French edition, translated by Rachel Martinez, publishes simultaneously.

A visual feast for families interested in seeing the Native world through small, kind deeds. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4598-2522-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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How many toilet-training manuals take the toilet’s side? (Picture book. 3-5)


Feeling hurt because young Danny refuses to sit on it, a toilet heads for…browner pastures.

Danny will happily sit on chairs and sofas, but the commode makes him anxious. Considerably bummed (“He hates me”), said fixture at last packs its plunger and departs—the very night before Danny decides it’s finally time. As the toilet leisurely takes in a movie, visits an art museum, and poses for photos with tourists, Danny and his mom set off on a frantic search through “all the wrong places” (port-a-potties and public restrooms) before sighting their quarry at last on the subway to (where else) Flushing Meadows. Reconciliation ensues, differences are papered over, and one reminder to flush later, the whole family (toilet included) rushes away to celebrate. Ricks endows his angst-y porcelain protagonist with anthropomorphic facial features and deposits it and Danny’s family in a New York(ish) setting splashed with suggestive ads (“Feeling Drained?”) and signage. Danny and his mom have red hair and pale skin, while Danny’s dad has black hair and somewhat darker skin. Aside from the visual innuendo, there is nary a whiff of what might be going into the toilet (nor any mention of urination), and the focus seems to be more on alienation issues than excretory give and take. Still, the episode may give children who share Danny’s anxiety a handle on their feelings.

How many toilet-training manuals take the toilet’s side? (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 7, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5122-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

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From the Dinosaur vs… series

Another high-volume trail of victories for the red, toothy, roaring two-or-so-year-old introduced in Dinosaur vs. Bedtime (2008). Stoutly denying any need to use the potty, Dinosaur “conquers” a pitcher of lemonade, a lawn sprinkler, a pool toy, puddles and even a three-juice-box lunch in succession, each time exclaiming, “Dinosaur wins! And doesn’t need to use the potty!”—but when that victory dance suddenly turns into a “potty dance,” can he hold it long enough to reach the toilet? Children who have felt the pressure themselves won’t be able to turn the pages fast enough to see if he makes it…and he does, as the final (discreetly posed) scene and Dinosaur’s blissful—and still spike-toothed—smile reveal. “Close one, Dinosaur! Real, real close.” Largely printed in display type, the text is as punchy and emphatic as the big, simple illustrations. A shoo-in for storytime fave status and an excellent title to supplement the standard, more earnest potty-training fare. (Picture book. 3-5)


Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4231-3339-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2010

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