A passel of fun activities—dancing, crafting, biking and dress up—are tucked into Janni's tonic tale of imagination and...

EVERY COWGIRL NEEDS DANCING BOOTS

What better way to make friends than throwing a party?

Nellie Sue has a new pair of pink dancing boots, but she can't go out dancing alone. Mama suggests befriending the new girls that she sees playing on the street. Nellie Sue saddles up her pink "two-wheeled horse" and invites the three girls to go for a ride; the youngest (about Nellie Sue's age) seems interested, but her older sister says, "Not in ballet slippers." Nellie Sue is discouraged, but only for a minute; her dog Ginger gives her a great idea! She makes some pretty invitations and gets back on her horse, galloping "like the Pony Express" to ask the neighbor girls to her "Barn Dance." The whole neighborhood shows up, and Nellie Sue commences to dance. But the floor is slick and she takes a tumble, bringing the refreshments and most of the guests down with her. Ginger starts giving everybody on the floor sloppy dog kisses. It looks like Nellie Sue's party will be a disaster until that youngest girl, whose name is Anna, laughs. Finally, the ice is broken. Nellie Sue drops g’s and uses cowgirl idiom with abandon; her adherence to the cowgirl "code of honor" is endearing. Avril's line-and-watercolor cartoons keep the visual tone light.

A passel of fun activities—dancing, crafting, biking and dress up—are tucked into Janni's tonic tale of imagination and optimism . (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-525-42341-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2011

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WITH ALL MY HEART

A caregiving bear shares with its cub how love has defined their relationship from the first moment and through the years as the cub has grown.

With rhymes and a steady rhythm that are less singsong-y than similar books, Stansbie seems to have hit a sweet spot for this offering on the I-love-you-always shelf. Readers follow the adult and child as they share special moments together—a sunset, a splash in a pond, climbing a tree, a snuggle—and the adult tells the child that the love it feels has only grown. Stansbie also takes care not to put promises in the adult bear’s mouth that can’t be delivered, acknowledging that physical proximity is not always possible: “Wherever you are, / even when we’re apart… // I’ll love you forever / with all of my heart.” The large trim size helps the sweet illustrations shine; their emphasis is on the close relationship between parent and child. Shaped peekaboo windows offer glimpses of preceding and succeeding pages, images and text carefully placed to work whatever the context. While the die cuts on the interior pages will not hold up to rough handling, they do add whimsy and delight to the book as a whole: “And now that you’re bigger, / you make my heart sing. / My / beautiful / wonderful / magical / thing.” Those last three adjectives are positioned in leaf-shaped cutouts, the turn of the page revealing the roly-poly cub in a pile of leaves, three formed by the die-cuts. Opposite, three vignettes show the cub appreciating the “beautiful,” the “wonderful,” and the “magical.”

Sweet. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68412-910-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Silver Dolphin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for...

OLIVER AND HIS EGG

Oliver, of first-day-of-school alligator fame, is back, imagining adventures and still struggling to find balance between introversion and extroversion.

“When Oliver found his egg…” on the playground, mint-green backgrounds signifying Oliver’s flight into fancy slowly grow larger until they take up entire spreads; Oliver’s creature, white and dinosaurlike with orange polka dots, grows larger with them. Their adventures include sharing treats, sailing the seas and going into outer space. A classmate’s yell brings him back to reality, where readers see him sitting on top of a rock. Even considering Schmid’s scribbly style, readers can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he ponders the girl and whether or not to give up his solitary play. “But when Oliver found his rock… // Oliver imagined many adventures // with all his friends!” This last is on a double gatefold that opens to show the children enjoying the creature’s slippery curves. A final wordless spread depicts all the children sitting on rocks, expressions gleeful, wondering, waiting, hopeful. The illustrations, done in pastel pencil and digital color, again make masterful use of white space and page turns, although this tale is not nearly as funny or tongue-in-cheek as Oliver and His Alligator (2013), nor is its message as clear and immediately accessible to children.

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for all children but sadly isn’t. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7573-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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