From the Rosie and Rasmus series

Muddled messages overwhelm endearing illustrations in this friendship tale.

The sequel to Rosie and Rasmus (2019) finds Rasmus, a small dragon with short wings, facing bullying and loneliness in his new home.

When Rasmus reaches “the island where the dragons live,” he receives a harsh welcome. In speech-balloon dialogue, much-bigger dragons mock his stature, small wings, and lack of horns, sneering, “Keep on walking, baby monster.” His amusingly unsuccessful attempts to roar, kick rocks, and breathe fire (as a similarly small-winged dragon watches covertly) make him first sad, then angry. He fires off a note to Rosie, his human pal, denying their friendship because Rosie hasn’t visited. As in the previous book, Rasmus is primarily an object of Rosie’s help. Rosie sails to the island and delivers a pep talk, concluding that the only difference between Rasmus and the others is his kind heart. As the pair play and celebrate, the other small-winged dragon asks to join. After some kite flying, the new pals say goodbye to Rosie, “a treasured [friend].” Another dragon watches with interest, hinting at another friendship. With soft edges and close perspective, Geddes’ pastel-hued illustrations sympathetically express Rasmus’ anger, sadness, and joy. However, Rasmus’ passivity offers little encouragement to similarly lonely readers. His friendship with Rosie remains uneven, and her pivotal ice-breaking risks implying that Rasmus wouldn’t have made his new friends without her—good thing she knows how to sail! Rosie is white.

Muddled messages overwhelm endearing illustrations in this friendship tale. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: July 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9876-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020


A straightforward tale of conflict and reconciliation for newly emergent readers? Not exactly, which raises it above the...

In this deceptively spare, very beginning reader, a girl assembles a robot and then treats it like a slave until it goes on strike.

Having put the robot together from a jumble of loose parts, the budding engineer issues an increasingly peremptory series of rhymed orders— “Throw, Bot. / Row, Bot”—that turn from playful activities like chasing bubbles in the yard to tasks like hoeing the garden, mowing the lawn and towing her around in a wagon. Jung crafts a robot with riveted edges, big googly eyes and a smile that turns down in stages to a scowl as the work is piled on. At last, the exhausted robot plops itself down, then in response to its tormentor’s angry “Don’t say no, Bot!” stomps off in a huff. In one to four spacious, sequential panels per spread, Jung develops both the plotline and the emotional conflict using smoothly modeled cartoon figures against monochromatic or minimally detailed backgrounds. The child’s commands, confined in small dialogue balloons, are rhymed until her repentant “Come on home, Bot” breaks the pattern but leads to a more equitable division of labor at the end.

A straightforward tale of conflict and reconciliation for newly emergent readers? Not exactly, which raises it above the rest. (Easy reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 25, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-87083-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013


An unfortunately simplistic delivery of a well-intentioned message.

Drawing on lyrics from her Mormon children’s hymn of the same title, Pearson explores diversity and acceptance in a more secular context.

Addressing people of varying ages, races, origins, and abilities in forced rhymes that omit the original version’s references to Jesus, various speakers describe how they—unlike “some people”—will “show [their] love for” their fellow humans. “If you don’t talk as most people do / some people talk and laugh at you,” a child tells a tongue-tied classmate. “But I won’t! / I won’t! / I’ll talk with you / and giggle too. / That’s how I’ll show my love for you.” Unfortunately, many speakers’ actions feel vague and rather patronizing even as they aim to include and reassure. “I know you bring such interesting things,” a wheelchair user says, welcoming a family “born far, far away” who arrives at the airport; the adults wear Islamic clothing. As pink- and brown-skinned worshipers join a solitary brown-skinned person who somehow “[doesn’t] pray as some people pray” on a church pew, a smiling, pink-skinned worshiper’s declaration that “we’re all, I see, one family” raises echoes of the problematic assertion, “I don’t see color.” The speakers’ exclamations of “But I won’t!” after noting others’ prejudiced behavior reads more as self-congratulation than promise of inclusion. Sanders’ geometric, doll-like human figures are cheery but stiff, and the text’s bold, uppercase typeface switches jarringly to cursive for the refrain, “That’s how I’ll show my love for you.” Characters’ complexions include paper-white, yellow, pink, and brown.

An unfortunately simplistic delivery of a well-intentioned message. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4236-5395-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Gibbs Smith

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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