It’s finally OK for kids to press buttons! This interactive story will empower, educate, and entertain young readers who are...

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THIS BOOK IS OUT OF CONTROL!

The act of reading a picture book has never gotten so out of control.

When Bella and Ben attempt to play with a remote-control fire truck, playtime goes awry—first for Bella’s big, spotted dog and then for the main characters themselves. Before long, things are upside down, sideways, switched around, and out of control, and the only way to fix everything is for readers to press the proper buttons to get the book that they are reading back under control. The remote, which is almost as large as the characters and contains simple directional buttons, such as “up,” “down,” “spin,” and “squirt” (!), will be irresistible to tiny fingers. Bold red text conveys a sense of mild—yet exciting—alarm and will keep readers on the edges of their seats, just waiting for the book to get out of control. Minimalist backgrounds and pages splattered with bright colors keep readers’ eyes trained solely on the story; however, the bright palette does not distract from the book’s absence of characters of color—Bella and Ben both appear to be white. The book concludes with a challenge, inviting readers to figure out which button hasn’t yet been pressed. Once readers figure it out, they will undoubtedly want to read the book all over again.

It’s finally OK for kids to press buttons! This interactive story will empower, educate, and entertain young readers who are on the path to independent reading. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-933-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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A treat to be savored—and a lesson learned—any time of year.

LOVE MONSTER AND THE LAST CHOCOLATE

From the Love Monster series

The surprised recipient of a box of chocolates agonizes over whether to eat the whole box himself or share with his friends.

Love Monster is a chocoholic, so when he discovers the box on his doorstep, his mouth waters just thinking about what might be inside; his favorite’s a double chocolate strawberry swirl. The brief thought that he should share these treats with his friends is easily rationalized away. Maybe there won’t be enough for everyone, perhaps someone will eat his favorite, or, even worse, leave him with his least favorite: the coffee one! Bright’s pacing and tone are on target throughout, her words conveying to readers exactly what the monster is thinking and feeling: “So he went into his house. And so did the box of chocolates…without a whisper of a word to anyone.” This is followed by a “queasy-squeezy” feeling akin to guilt and then by a full-tilt run to his friends, chocolates in hand, and a breathless, stream-of-consciousness confession, only to be brought up short by what’s actually in the box. And the moral is just right: “You see, sometimes it’s when you stop to think of others…that you start to find out just how much they think of you.” Monster’s wide eyes and toothy mouth convey his emotions wonderfully, and the simple backgrounds keep the focus on his struggle.

A treat to be savored—and a lesson learned—any time of year. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-00-754030-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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