A humorous approach to the value of discipline.

SAVANNAH AND THE NUTZY NANNY

In this children’s picture book, a young girl’s parents replace her relaxed nanny with a perfectionist one.

When white, preschool-aged Savannah’s room gets messy, due to toys strewn everywhere, Nanny Rose, a middle-aged white woman, helps her put them away. Savannah is happy with this arrangement, but when her parents read about a young girl who can “already read, write poetry, and play the violin with the Symphony Orchestra,” they decide to replace Nanny Rose with someone more “organized and educational”: Nanny Nutzy. The severe, frowning woman replaces Savannah’s toys with three colored plastic balls: “These balls…contain no asbestos, lead paint or deadly germs,” Nutzy says. “They will never influence a child to hack off her hair and live like a kooky goth supermodel.” Savannah learns to read, write, and play violin, but her parents begin to worry about her new, Nutzy-like frown. They restore Nanny Rose, and love returns to Savannah’s life. In her debut book, Brady tells an amusing story about the difference between happiness and perfectionism while also admitting that Rose could challenge Savannah more. “Questions to Think About,” included in the backmatter, helpfully provide space to consider such matters more fully. The photographic images are effectively staged and comical, suggesting that Nutzy is simply Rose with an exaggerated glower and austere hairdo.

A humorous approach to the value of discipline.

Pub Date: May 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-982203-78-8

Page Count: 26

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS

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.

THE NIGHT IS YOURS

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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