A family outing to the beach nearly ends in calamity when the youngest member decides to bring along his treasured bears. As Percy’s family busily prepares for their trip, he discovers stuffed animals he cannot endure leaving behind. Percy’s family explains that if they take his toys, they will have to leave something behind. Naylor’s (Simply Alice, p. 496, etc.) tale gently exposes a child’s comically skewered pragmatism; after all, Percy reasons, what can possibly be more important than one’s favorite toys? Thus, while Percy collects his bears, he carefully disposes with what he deems the less important items for the trip. When his family discovers a quartet of bears neatly tucked into the cooler instead of food, it seems that everyone will have to go home early. However, Percy uses his unique brand of logic to solve this dilemma. Soon, four stuffed bears are perched next to the boardwalk with a sign reading “Please DO feed the bears,” eventually affording the family a bountiful lunch. Escrivá’s (How Can You Dance?, 2001, etc.) acrylic paintings adroitly tie into the tale, allowing readers in on the secret to Percy’s packing, building the anticipation for the story’s humorous climax. The density of the bold colors combined with sharply defined lines of the drawings produce vividly arresting illustrations. Naylor’s wry tale reveals to readers both the shenanigans and solutions that are the result of ingenious thinking. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-689-82561-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2002

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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.


All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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Give this child’s-eye view of a day at the beach with an attentive father high marks for coziness: “When your ball blows across the sand and into the ocean and starts to drift away, your daddy could say, Didn’t I tell you not to play too close to the waves? But he doesn’t. He wades out into the cold water. And he brings your ball back to the beach and plays roll and catch with you.” Alley depicts a moppet and her relaxed-looking dad (to all appearances a single parent) in informally drawn beach and domestic settings: playing together, snuggling up on the sofa and finally hugging each other goodnight. The third-person voice is a bit distancing, but it makes the togetherness less treacly, and Dad’s mix of love and competence is less insulting, to parents and children both, than Douglas Wood’s What Dads Can’t Do (2000), illus by Doug Cushman. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 23, 2005

ISBN: 0-618-00361-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2005

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