From the Walt Disney Animation Studios Artist Showcase series

No need to wait with bated breath.

Briggs delivers the fourth title in the Walt Disney Animation Studios Artist Showcase series, a musing on familiar turns of phrase.

When the narrator’s mother prompts the child to “catch your breath,” the child pauses to wonder “Where would it go?!” Narrated by a child entirely washed in yellow with straight, cropped hair, a hoodie, and pants, the book wastes no time in employing “fun sayings about breath.” These are by turns endearing (“Mom says Grandpa grumbles under his breath…. / Maybe my breath is there?”) and groan-inducing (“Oh no!— / I can’t hold my / breath underwater!” the child exclaims as the breath literally eludes outstretched fingers). Personified as a floppy, smiling red-pink entity with the consistency of a semi-inflated balloon, the breath enjoys the chase. Some jokes will require explaining: “I’ve heard I can buy babies’ breath at a nursery,” says the child to a doctor in a maternity unit. A muted palette and the sparing use of color work to softly highlight characters and dialogue (conveyed in speech bubbles). Loosely drawn black-and-white backgrounds, as well as small details such as secondary characters’ mid-20th-century-yet-undated attire, create a nostalgia that is unsurprising for Disney. However, this nostalgia combined with jokes that rely on a young child’s naiveté about wordplay may leave readers wondering who this book is really meant for.

No need to wait with bated breath. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4847-2837-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017


A hilarious autumnal comedy of errors.

A confused squirrel overreacts to the falling autumn leaves.

Relaxing on a tree branch, Squirrel admires the red, gold, and orange leaves. Suddenly Squirrel screams, “One of my leaves is…MISSING!” Searching for the leaf, Squirrel tells Bird, “Someone stole my leaf!” Spying Mouse sailing in a leaf boat, Squirrel asks if Mouse stole the leaf. Mouse calmly replies in the negative. Bird reminds Squirrel it’s “perfectly normal to lose a leaf or two at this time of year.” Next morning Squirrel panics again, shrieking, “MORE LEAVES HAVE BEEN STOLEN!” Noticing Woodpecker arranging colorful leaves, Squirrel queries, “Are those my leaves?” Woodpecker tells Squirrel, “No.” Again, Bird assures Squirrel that no one’s taking the leaves and that the same thing happened last year, then encourages Squirrel to relax. Too wired to relax despite some yoga and a bath, the next day Squirrel cries “DISASTER” at the sight of bare branches. Frantic now, Squirrel becomes suspicious upon discovering Bird decorating with multicolored leaves. Is Bird the culprit? In response, Bird shows Squirrel the real Leaf Thief: the wind. Squirrel’s wildly dramatic, misguided, and hyperpossessive reaction to a routine seasonal event becomes a rib-tickling farce through clever use of varying type sizes and weights emphasizing his absurd verbal pronouncements as well as exaggerated, comic facial expressions and body language. Bold colors, arresting perspectives, and intense close-ups enhance Squirrel’s histrionics. Endnotes explain the science behind the phenomenon.

A hilarious autumnal comedy of errors. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7282-3520-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021


While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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