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I USED TO BE THE BABY

This effort would fall into the “new sibling issues” category, the premise laid out on the first page, “I used to be the baby, but now I am big. I have a baby brother, and I help Mommy take care of him.” Through several examples, big brother offers solutions to new baby woes. When baby is sad in the stroller, brother holds his hand. When baby doesn’t enjoy bath time, big brother blows bubbles to amuse him. The payoff comes after the baby has gone to sleep and big brother gets some alone time on Mommy’s lap. The artwork is attractive with its array of bright watercolors and distinct outlines. The characters and household objects have a pudgy, roly-poly appeal. In fact, the illustrations, not the text, subtly betray big brother’s natural reactions to the new arrival. In the smaller panel of the layout, for example, he vies for mother’s attention during bath time with such antics as tugging on her hair and wearing a towel on his head. The facing page has a larger illustration of the behavior that remedies the situation: blowing the bubbles. Ballard (My Day, Your Day, 2001, etc.) does well enough outlining some of the ways in which the family will be altered with a young addition and scratches the surface of some of the emotional issues surrounding such an upheaval. Though this child is meant to be a model, he seems more patient and helpful than many children would be. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-06-029586-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2002

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IZZY GIZMO AND THE INVENTION CONVENTION

From the Izzy Gizmo series

A disappointing follow-up.

Inventor Izzy Gizmo is back in this sequel to her eponymous debut (2017).

While busily inventing one day, Izzy receives an invitation from the Genius Guild to their annual convention. Though Izzy’s “inventions…don’t always work,” Grandpa (apparently her sole caregiver) encourages her to go. The next day they undertake a long journey “over fields, hills, and waves” and “mile after mile” to isolated Technoff Isle. There, Izzy finds she must compete against four other kids to create the most impressive machine. The colorful, detail-rich illustrations chronicle how poor Izzy is thwarted at every turn by Abi von Lavish, a Veruca Salt–esque character who takes all the supplies for herself. But when Abi abandons her project, Izzy salvages the pieces and decides to take Grandpa’s advice to create a machine that “can really be put to good use.” A frustrated Izzy’s impatience with a friend almost foils her chance at the prize, but all’s well that ends well. There’s much to like: Brown-skinned inventor girl Izzy is an appealing character, it’s great to see a nurturing brown-skinned male caregiver, the idea of an “Invention Convention” is fun, and a sustainable-energy invention is laudable. However, these elements don’t make up for rhymes that often feel forced and a lackluster story.

A disappointing follow-up. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68263-164-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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STOP! BOT!

The visual details invite interaction, making it a good choice for storytime or solo inspection.

It’s a quiet day, until….

“I have a bot!” An excited child’s happiness is short-lived, for the remote-controlled toy escapes its wireless tether and begins an ascent up the side of a skyscraper. The building’s doorman launches a race to recover the bot, and soon everyone wants to help. Attempts to retrieve the bot, which is rendered as a red rectangle with a propeller, arms, and a rudimentary face, go from the mundanity of a broom to the absurd—a bright orange beehive hairdo and a person-sized Venus’ flytrap are just some of the silly implements the building’s occupants use to try to rein in the bot. Each double-page spread reveals another level of the building—and further visual hijinks—as the bot makes its way to the top, where an unexpected hero waits (keep an eye out for falling bananas). The tall, narrow trim size echoes the shape of the skyscraper, providing a sense of height as the bot rises. Text is minimal; short declarations in tidy black dialogue bubbles with white courier-style typeface leave the primary-colored, blocky art to effectively carry the story. Facial expressions—both human and bot—are comically spot-on. The bot-owning child has light skin, and there are several people of color among those trying to rescue the bot. One person wears a kufi.

The visual details invite interaction, making it a good choice for storytime or solo inspection. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: July 23, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-425-28881-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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