Delightful—and not the least bit troublesome.


Twins go in search of trouble—and find it!

The text doesn’t assign Ellis and Erin pronouns but does identify them as twins. The siblings have light-brown skin, and Ellis wears glasses and has short, curly, dark hair; Erin’s hair is the same color but straighter and longer. These differences in appearance will help readers keep the twins straight as they cause playful chaos in their search for “trouble.” To no avail, they “rummage through the bags and boxes in the garage” and look for “trouble” at the bottom of trash bins and up a big tree. Splashing in a mud puddle brings glee and perhaps an assumption on readers’ parts that this muddy mess is, at last, where the twins “find trouble.” But they continue their search only to dejectedly go inside, “disappointed they couldn’t find trouble.” Dyer’s bright, lively collage art shows the children, dirty and disheveled, tracking mud and detritus into the house, which may again prompt readers to shake their heads knowingly—clearly these children have found trouble, whether they think so or not. But a twist ending, textually reliant on an avoidance of capitalizing Trouble as a proper noun in prior pages, reveals that Trouble is the name of the children’s cat. They find her in a satisfying culmination of their (perhaps) inadvertently mischievous search.

Delightful—and not the least bit troublesome. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-84976-659-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tate/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture...


Turner adds another title to his picture-book series that highlights the miracles in the mundane (When God Made Light, 2018, etc.).

In the vein of children’s-bookshelf stalwart Oh, the Places You’ll Go, Turner’s rhyming text includes both prayers and life advice for a growing child, beginning with infancy and moving on to adolescence. At times the rhyme and meter are strained, muddling meaning and making the tempo feel occasionally awkward when read aloud. Overall, though, the book executes its mission, presenting Christian theological truths within the rhythmic inspirational text. For this third series installment Turner’s text is paired with a new illustrator, whose bright illustrations of wide-eyed children have great shelf appeal. While David Catrow’s previous illustrations in the series featured effervescent black protagonists, the child in Barnes’ illustrations appears white, though she occupies an otherwise diverse world. While illustrated as a prayer from a mother for her daughter, the text itself is gender neutral.

Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture books. (Picture book/religion. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-52565058-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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It may be his mothers’ wedding day, but it’s Donovan’s big day in Newman’s (Heather Has Two Mommies, 1989, etc.) latest picture book about queer family life. Centered on the child’s experience and refreshingly eschewing reference to controversy, the book emerges as a celebration of not only Mommy’s and Mama’s mutual love but progress toward equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. Readers, however, don't know immediately know why it is “a very BIG day” for Donovan or what the “very BIG job” is that he has to do. In his affectionate, humorous gouache paintings with digital finish, Dutton cleverly includes clues in the form of family pictures in an earlier spread set inside their home, and then a later spread shows Donovan in a suit and placing a “little white satin box that Aunt Jennifer gave him” into his pocket, hinting toward his role as ring bearer. But it’s not until the third-to-last spread that he stands with his parents and hands “one shiny gold ring to Mommy [and] one shiny gold ring to Mama.” He, of course, gets to kiss the brides on the last page, lending a happily-ever-after sensibility to the end of this story about a family's new beginning. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 26, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58246-332-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2011

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