A funny story that encourages readers to be unapologetic about who they actually are

READ REVIEW

I AM ACTUALLY A PENGUIN

An adventurous girl with a passion for dress-up discovers that she is actually a penguin. Her only problem is that now she has to convince her family.

Sometimes she’s a “pretty princess,” other times an “incredible pirate,” and still other a “terrible witch.” After her latest parcel arrives…now she’s a penguin. “Actually.” Whether she’s in the frozen-foods aisle of the grocery store, on public transportation, or playing soccer with friends, this enthusiastic protagonist consistently declares that she is “actually a penguin.” Much to the dismay of her patient mother, confusion of onlookers, and scorn of her older brother—even at her aunt’s wedding—this feisty penguin remains in character. But just when the protagonist’s family reaches their breaking point, our dedicated penguin decides she’s “actually… / an alligator.” This lighthearted book featuring a family of color packs a heavy dose of humor and is sure to be a storytime favorite. The bright mixed-media illustrations are full of motion and personality, and scenes of the child festooning the living room with toilet-paper snow and sliding down the stairs face first on her belly are sure to elicit chuckles from kids (and sucked teeth from adults). 

A funny story that encourages readers to be unapologetic about who they actually are . (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0278-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Templar/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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Pair this with Leo Timmers’ Who Is Driving? (2007) for twice the guessing fun.

CLOTHESLINE CLUES TO JOBS PEOPLE DO

From the Clothesline Clues series

Heling and Hembrook’s clever conceit challenges children to analyze a small town’s clotheslines to guess the job each of their owners does. 

Close-up on the clothesline: “Uniform and cap, / an invite for you. / Big bag of letters. / What job does she do?” A turn of the page reveals a macro view of the home, van and the woman doing her job, “She is a mail carrier.” Indeed, she can be spotted throughout the book delivering invitations to all the rest of the characters, who gather at the end for a “Launch Party.” The verses’ rhymes are spot-on, though the rhythm falters a couple of times. The authors nicely mix up the gender stereotypes often associated with several of these occupations, making the carpenter, firefighter and astronaut women. But while Davies keeps uniforms and props pretty neutral (he even avoids U.S. mail symbols), he keeps to the stereotypes that allow young readers to easily identify occupations—the farmer chews on a stalk of wheat; the beret-wearing artist sports a curly mustache. A subdued palette and plain white backgrounds keep kids’ focus on the clothing clues. Still, there are plenty of details to absorb—the cat with arched back that anticipates a spray of water, the firefighter who “lights” the rocket.

Pair this with Leo Timmers’ Who Is Driving? (2007) for twice the guessing fun. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-58089-251-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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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

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1999

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