Brimming with enthusiasm, emphasized words, and silly sounds, these cheery books will have emergent readers clamoring for...

BILLIE'S ANIMAL HOSPITAL ADVENTURE

From the Billie's Super-Duper Adventures series

The latest installment in the Billie’s Super-Duper Adventures series explores veterinarian dramatic play.

Billie is normally a preschooler set on high speed. She often bounds into school, ready for adventure. But on this particular day, the little white girl limps in, full of woe. She has a scrape on her knee. Brown-skinned Mr. Simon sympathizes with her pain and shows her that Teddy (a stuffed bear) also has an injury. Quick as a wink, Billie and her sidekick pal, Jack, also white, rush off in the cardboard ambulance. As they speed into a cloud of imagination, the classroom instantly transforms into an animal hospital with Dr. Billie and Nurse Jack treating a wide assortment of critters—even a large hippo that has eaten too much ice cream. True to child-doctor sensibilities, many an ailment can be healed with a superabundance of bandages and a spoonful of medicine. Billie and Jack also award star stickers to very brave patients. In the simultaneously publishing Billie’s Outer Space Adventure, Billie and Jack explore Planet Pom-Pom—of course coming up with a “super-duper idea” to save the day when they come across a stranded space tourist. The addition of a few new characters of various skin tones in both books is welcomed.

Brimming with enthusiasm, emphasized words, and silly sounds, these cheery books will have emergent readers clamoring for more. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-61067-607-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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THE GRUFFALO

The action of this rhymed and humorous tale centers upon a mouse who "took a stroll/through the deep dark wood./A fox saw the mouse/and the mouse looked good." The mouse escapes being eaten by telling the fox that he is on his way to meet his friend the gruffalo (a monster of his imagination), whose favorite food is roasted fox. The fox beats a hasty retreat. Similar escapes are in store for an owl and a snake; both hightail it when they learn the particulars: tusks, claws, terrible jaws, eyes orange, tongue black, purple prickles on its back. When the gruffalo suddenly materializes out of the mouse's head and into the forest, the mouse has to think quick, declaring himself inedible as the "scariest creature in the deep dark wood," and inviting the gruffalo to follow him to witness the effect he has on the other creatures. When the gruffalo hears that the mouse's favorite food is gruffalo crumble, he runs away. It's a fairly innocuous tale, with twists that aren't sharp enough and treachery that has no punch. Scheffler's funny scenes prevent the suspense from culminating; all his creatures, predator and prey, are downright lovable. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8037-2386-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1999

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Mixed-race children certainly deserve mirror books, but they also deserve excellent text and illustrations. This one misses...

BEAUTIFUL, WONDERFUL, STRONG LITTLE ME!

This tan-skinned, freckle-faced narrator extols her own virtues while describing the challenges of being of mixed race.

Protagonist Lilly appears on the cover, and her voluminous curly, twirly hair fills the image. Throughout the rhyming narrative, accompanied by cartoonish digital illustrations, Lilly brags on her dark skin (that isn’t very), “frizzy, wild” hair, eyebrows, intellect, and more. Her five friends present black, Asian, white (one blonde, one redheaded), and brown (this last uses a wheelchair). This array smacks of tokenism, since the protagonist focuses only on self-promotion, leaving no room for the friends’ character development. Lilly describes how hurtful racial microaggressions can be by recalling questions others ask her like “What are you?” She remains resilient and says that even though her skin and hair make her different, “the way that I look / Is not all I’m about.” But she spends so much time talking about her appearance that this may be hard for readers to believe. The rhyming verse that conveys her self-celebration is often clumsy and forced, resulting in a poorly written, plotless story for which the internal illustrations fall far short of the quality of the cover image.

Mixed-race children certainly deserve mirror books, but they also deserve excellent text and illustrations. This one misses the mark on both counts. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63233-170-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Eifrig

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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