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A clear and useful message: Feelings change, and, ultimately, “It’s all going to be okay.”

What to do on one of those days when nothing goes right?

On the endpapers, a diverse group of children, slightly older incarnations of the cast of Kurilla’s One Springy, Singy Day (2021), demonstrate a range of emotions. As the book open, an unseen narrator informs us that, “You were in no mood to play / when you got out of bed today.” The children depicted on the endpapers appear; one sleepyhead seems to have literally gotten up on the wrong side of the bed—even the cat eyes the child warily. Another kid feels “touchy,” frowning as a parent rakes a comb through the little one’s hair. Conflict abounds at the playground. One child smashes another’s sand castle; another child is intimidated into giving up a stuffie. Kids feel anxious, angry, and sad and act out in tears and shouts. A few deep breaths (shown in close-up) later, though, the toy is returned, hugs are shared, and, as the endpapers demonstrate, everything is turned around (though, as the final illustration suggests, perhaps not for long). Loose and bouncy rhythm and rhyme carry readers along. Whether everything is “too much-y” or not “enough-y,” a book like this, addressed to readers directly, can help. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A clear and useful message: Feelings change, and, ultimately, “It’s all going to be okay.” (Picture book 3-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2023

ISBN: 9781419757075

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2023

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From the Big Bright Feelings series

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance.

A boy with wings learns to be himself and inspires others like him to soar, too.

Norman, a “perfectly normal” boy, never dreamed he might grow wings. Afraid of what his parents might say, he hides his new wings under a big, stuffy coat. Although the coat hides his wings from the world, Norman no longer finds joy in bathtime, playing at the park, swimming, or birthday parties. With the gentle encouragement of his parents, who see his sadness, Norman finds the courage to come out of hiding and soar. Percival (The Magic Looking Glass, 2017, etc.) depicts Norman with light skin and dark hair. Black-and-white illustrations show his father with dark skin and hair and his mother as white. The contrast of black-and-white illustrations with splashes of bright color complements the story’s theme. While Norman tries to be “normal,” the world and people around him look black and gray, but his coat stands out in yellow. Birds pop from the page in pink, green, and blue, emphasizing the joy and beauty of flying free. The final spread, full of bright color and multiracial children in flight, sets the mood for Norman’s realization on the last page that there is “no such thing as perfectly normal,” but he can be “perfectly Norman.”

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-785-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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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, 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 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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