A great resource for an elementary school counselor’s office to have on hand for kids who need help managing their emotional...


Courageous Gilbert the Groundhog

A shy groundhog learns how to get in touch with his feelings and stand up for himself in this kids’ book by debut author McCarthy and illustrator Dettman.

Gilbert the Groundhog loves music and enjoys collecting things, but when it comes to interacting with his peers, he gets nervous—especially when the sharp-toothed and -tongued Peter Opossum teases him. When no one offers Gilbert a seat in the school cafeteria, he runs across the playground to an old oak. Luckily for him, this particular oak is a wise old tree who offers him advice on how to feel better. After the tree leads Gilbert in a deep-breathing exercise with an awkward mnemonic (“Breathe-in-for-four. Hold-this-heaven-till-count-of-seven. Exhale-for-eight-and-you-will-feel-great!”), the groundhog finds that he does feel better. But that technique isn’t all he needs to overcome his troubles at school: when his peers mock him for stumbling through his book report, for example, the deep breathing doesn’t help. The tree gently coaches him to listen to his body: “You are feeling your emotions….They can be in your heart, in your stomach, or anywhere in your body.” But just recognizing emotions isn’t the final step; the old oak tree advises Gilbert to practice expressing them, too, so that he can manage them when troubles arise. That practice turns out to be the key to the groundhog’s becoming comfortable with himself, making friends, and standing up to a bully. There’s plenty of material available out there for kids about dealing with bullies, but this title goes beyond that particular situation to offer a guide to handling uncontrollable feelings by breathing, feeling, and practicing. Such guidance offers young and middle-grade readers a fantastic resource for learning how to cope with their problems at school or at home. McCarthy’s use of the sympathetic Gilbert and his wise oak mentor makes the scenario feel detached enough from the real world to be comfortable for children struggling in their own lives. The illustrations of the anthropomorphized characters are charming, and the bullies are given appropriate menace without being too scary. Although the text is dense, especially for beginning readers, the message is encouraging and accessible.

A great resource for an elementary school counselor’s office to have on hand for kids who need help managing their emotional responses.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9862304-1-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Blue Stone Healing Books

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and...


Inspired by Colombian librarian Luis Soriano Bohórquez, Brown’s latest tells of a little girl whose wish comes true when a librarian and two book-laden burros visit her remote village.

Ana loves to read and spends all of her free time either reading alone or to her younger brother. She knows every word of the one book she owns. Although she uses her imagination to create fantastical bedtime tales for her brother, she really wants new books to read. Everything changes when a traveling librarian and his two donkeys, Alfa and Beto, arrive in the village. Besides loaning books to the children until his next visit, the unnamed man also reads them stories and teaches the younger children the alphabet. When Ana suggests that someone write a book about the traveling library, he encourages her to complete this task herself. After she reads her library books, Ana writes her own story for the librarian and gives it to him upon his reappearance—and he makes it part of his biblioburro collection. Parra’s colorful folk-style illustrations of acrylics on board bring Ana’s real and imaginary worlds to life. This is a child-centered complement to Jeanette Winter’s Biblioburro (2010), which focuses on Soriano.

The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and “iii-aah” adding to the fun.   (author’s note, glossary of Spanish terms) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58246-353-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet