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SIT STILL!

Teachers and parents will immediately recognize Patrick, the subject of this appealing, slice-of-life picture book: He is the child who just can't sit still. Patrick knows 101 ways to sit in a chair; the drawing shows this happy, lanky kid always in motion in eight different chairs, as he rocks, kicks, lounges, and sprawls. ``Sit still'' are the two words he hears most, but Patrick really can't help it—even the doctor admits that there's nothing he can do for the boy. Patrick's mother, though, is not so placid; she comes up with dozens of activities for Patrick and starts walking to school with him. No Attention-Deficit Disorder in this book, no administering of Ritalin; Carlson (How to Lose All Your Friends, 1994, etc.) is interested in a good old case of the fidgets, capturing Patrick in bright, flat, action-filled pictures with strongly diagonal compositions and multiple images that convey motion. The solution will strike some as simplistic, but the good humor and tolerance expressed send a positive message about kids like Patrick. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-670-85721-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1996

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I WISH YOU MORE

Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity.

A collection of parental wishes for a child.

It starts out simply enough: two children run pell-mell across an open field, one holding a high-flying kite with the line “I wish you more ups than downs.” But on subsequent pages, some of the analogous concepts are confusing or ambiguous. The line “I wish you more tippy-toes than deep” accompanies a picture of a boy happily swimming in a pool. His feet are visible, but it's not clear whether he's floating in the deep end or standing in the shallow. Then there's a picture of a boy on a beach, his pockets bulging with driftwood and colorful shells, looking frustrated that his pockets won't hold the rest of his beachcombing treasures, which lie tantalizingly before him on the sand. The line reads: “I wish you more treasures than pockets.” Most children will feel the better wish would be that he had just the right amount of pockets for his treasures. Some of the wordplay, such as “more can than knot” and “more pause than fast-forward,” will tickle older readers with their accompanying, comical illustrations. The beautifully simple pictures are a sweet, kid- and parent-appealing blend of comic-strip style and fine art; the cast of children depicted is commendably multiethnic.

Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4521-2699-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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NOT A BOX

Dedicated “to children everywhere sitting in cardboard boxes,” this elemental debut depicts a bunny with big, looping ears demonstrating to a rather thick, unseen questioner (“Are you still standing around in that box?”) that what might look like an ordinary carton is actually a race car, a mountain, a burning building, a spaceship or anything else the imagination might dream up. Portis pairs each question and increasingly emphatic response with a playscape of Crockett Johnson–style simplicity, digitally drawn with single red and black lines against generally pale color fields. Appropriately bound in brown paper, this makes its profound point more directly than such like-themed tales as Marisabina Russo’s Big Brown Box (2000) or Dana Kessimakis Smith’s Brave Spaceboy (2005). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-112322-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2006

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