Ian isn’t well, and his book isn’t so great either.


From the Ian and Sarah series

Some TLC and a play date help a sick little boy get better.

Little Ian has a fever, a sore throat, and a cough, so he stays home sick from school. His mother and father cuddle him and give him medicine, which helps him feel better. But when his parents have to go to work, a babysitter named Emma, whom Ian has never met, comes over. She plays with him and makes him “magic pancakes” to help him feel better, which seems to do the trick. A neighbor girl named Sarah comes over to play when Ian’s mother comes home. But when Ian, totally healthy the next day, wants to play with her again, he discovers that she is now at home sick with Emma babysitting her. All of the characters appear to be white, and the plot seems rather implausible, with its introduction of a stranger to care for a feverish child (she is at least a stranger to the sick child) and that same feverish child recovering so quickly. While Oud’s calm attitude is praiseworthy, readers may be more alarmed than reassured at imagining being left at home sick with a stranger, however friendly-looking and good at making pancakes. The cartoon-style illustrations are more pleasing than the forced text, but the color seems rather off, with blond hair appearing ghostly white.

Ian isn’t well, and his book isn’t so great either. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: July 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-60537-325-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clavis

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Great for storytime or for little monkeys who need encouragement to run around.


Every little monkey needs to get up and move!

“Sleepy Little Monkey / Won’t get out of bed. // Mama called the Doctor / And the Doctor said: / ‘Apple Juice, / Orange Juice, / Gooseberry Pies— / Monkey needs / some exercise!’ ” Little Monkey pops out of bed and, after dressing, does some quick calisthenics. “First you get the rhythm of the head: / Ding-Dong! // Have you got the rhythm of the head? / Ding-Dong!” A sway of the head accompanies each ding-dong. Then there’s a clap and a stomp. There’s some hip shaking. “Put them all together / You’ll be feeling so much better.” Monkey goes through the movements forward and backward and gives a cheer. “Spunky Little Monkey / Ready for the day. / Come on, Monkey— / LET’S GO PLAY!” A frequent collaborator of the deceased Martin’s, Sampson turns out a rhythmic invitation to wiggle in the morning. The text's catchy enough that little monkeys will want to hear it again and simple enough they’ll learn it quickly. Won’s big, bright digital illustrations (made from scanned watercolor washes) feature an adorable, rosy-cheeked monkey of indeterminate gender in jean shorts and striped T-shirt going through the motions before running off with animal friends. It may be a bit unclear exactly what motions are called for each time, but Little Monkey's moving, and that's the point.

Great for storytime or for little monkeys who need encouragement to run around. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-77643-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A visually striking, compelling recollection.


The author recounts a formative childhood experience that continues to inspire her today.

Born to Hmong refugees, Kalia has only ever known the confines of the Ban Vinai refugee camp in Thailand. Even while playing with her cousins, reminders of the hardships of their life are always present. She overhears the aunties sharing their uncertainty and fear of the future. They are a people with no home country and are still trying to find peace. Kalia asks her father why they live behind a gate and wonders what lies beyond the fences that surround the camp. The next day they climb a tall tree, and he shows her the vast expanse around them, from familiar camp landmarks to distant mountains “where the sky meets earth.” This story of resilience and generational hope is told in an expressive, straightforward narrative style. The simplicity of the text adds a level of poignancy that moves readers to reflection. The layered and heavily textured illustrations complement the text while highlighting the humanity of the refugees and providing a quiet dignity to camp life. The militarylike color palette of olive greens, golden yellows, and rich browns reinforces the guarded atmosphere but also represents the transitional period from winter to spring, a time ripe with anticipation and promise.

A visually striking, compelling recollection. (author's note, glossary, map.) (Picture book/memoir. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5415-8130-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Simple words and big concepts will make this a godsend to parents at their wit's end.


From the Big Kid Power series

This book seeks to use the power of persuasion to vanquish that most formidable of opponents: toddlers.

In this entry in the Big Kid Power series, a little black girl makes no bones about the fact that pacifiers (or “binkies”) are strictly baby territory. When she was little she needed one, but that was then. Whether she’s tired, sad, or hungry, there are other ways of being comforted: hugs and polite requests, for instance. After she gives her binky to a baby and bids it a very clear goodbye, the book ends with a triumphant, “I’M A BIG KID!” Using a striking color combination of orange, brown, and black, van Lieshout keeps her pages bold and bright, complementing the simple vocabulary. Such declarations as, “Do I still have a binky? // NO, BIG KIDS DON’T NEED A BINKY. / NOPE!” leave scant wiggle room for argument. In her author’s note at the end, van Lieshout says that after speaking to many parents about how they helped their kids bid their pacifiers adieu, “many of them had in common…a ritual of some sort.” The ritual here seems to be giving the pacifier away, though it may be missed by many readers. Companion title I Use the Potty uses a similar approach, with a proud, white boy as its guide.

Simple words and big concepts will make this a godsend to parents at their wit's end. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4521-3536-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet