A lively picture book that offers a child-friendly perspective on difference and acceptance.



An unusual customer interrupts a youngster’s lunch with her grandfather in a humorous debut children’s book that addresses the issue of empathy.

Aryela, a little white girl with blonde hair, is having fun with her “Gramps” when a sporty kangaroo named Kip, wearing an “Aussie” T-shirt, baseball cap, and sunglasses, bounces into the shopping mall food court where they’re eating lunch. Everyone stares as Kip “hippity hops” to the salad counter to place an order. Aryela, pictured wearing an eye patch (to correct a vision problem), is empathetic: “I know what it’s like to be stared at,” she says to herself. When the salad maker refuses to serve Kip (“We only serve people here…and you’re not people”), Aryela notes the kangaroo’s hurt feelings and thinks of how she’s felt like an outsider. She asks Gramps to invite Kip to their table, and the senior goes to the counter to make sure that the kangaroo gets a salad. Aryela and Kip soon find that they have much in common: They know what it’s like to be picked on, for example, and they both love jokes. De Francis offers expressive, zippy, cartoon-style debut illustrations as Bloomberg delivers several messages about diversity, bullying, prejudice, and kindness. He does so with gentle humor and a light but sure touch, reinforcing the book’s messages with the arrival of Kip’s mother. Confronted by a security guard, she humorously but firmly educates him about her right to remain there with her son. (Mom’s pouch-as-shopping-bag also comes into play, and De Francis’ depiction of the guard’s expression is a hoot.) Bloomberg’s slapstick method for discouraging bullies is the book’s only misstep; although it’s comical when Kip sticks up for Aryela by dumping salad over the heads of the three “Meanie Brothers,” it’s likely that retaliatory escalation would be a bully’s real-life response.

A lively picture book that offers a child-friendly perspective on difference and acceptance.

Pub Date: Dec. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-976425-46-2

Page Count: 88

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: June 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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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

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The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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