This hilarious, inspirational, and infinitely familiar story about greeting life’s inconveniences with good humor will make...

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STILL STUCK

A child dreams of conquering the world even when clothing proves tricky in this Japanese story translated into English.

It’s bathtime, and the stubborn protagonist insists on getting undressed without any help from Mom. But, as anyone who spends time with young children knows, shirts are notoriously difficult to take off. The young, light-skinned narrator gets stuck in the bright yellow shirt, unable to see, arms hopelessly entangled. The kid becomes quickly resigned to the inevitable, even optimistic: “I was sure lots of important people had been stuck before,” the child muses in front of an imagined, admiring crowd, the pulled-up, inside-out shirt exposing a pink belly. The challenges of being stuck in a shirt are addressed and overcome. “But what if I got thirsty? / I would find a way”: an extra-long straw. The child starts thinking about the friendships that could be formed with other children stuck with their shirts over their heads and dreams of summiting a mountain—“But then I got cold.” The child valiantly tries self-extrication again, hoping that wriggling out of their pants will help (it doesn’t). Mom finally comes to the rescue, hauling our protagonist off to the tub, a few cheeky butt cameos rounding out the humor. Throughout, Yoshitake uses cartoon conventions to great effect, multiple legs indicating frantic scrabbling, motion lines futility and frustration.

This hilarious, inspirational, and infinitely familiar story about greeting life’s inconveniences with good humor will make adults and children alike giggle. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2699-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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While the ghoulies here are more cute than scary, “jump,” “quiver,” and “run” will probably get across the idea to even the...

HALLOWEEN ABC

An abecedary of spooky or autumnal delights for the littlest readers.

Each letter of the alphabet is highlighted on a single page, the upper- and lowercase letters appearing in the upper left-hand corner, while the object is named at the bottom or in the upper right. Ho keeps her illustrations simple and places them against plain, brightly colored backgrounds, keeping them accessible to those still learning about Halloween’s many icons. The almost-fluorescent orange cover is sure to attract attention, and the palette of black, purple, orange, yellow, and radioactive green enhances the Halloween mood. But while many of the chosen items will be expected—bats, ghost, haunted house, owl, skeleton, vampire, witch, zombie—others are rather odd choices. J is for “jump,” not jack-o’-lantern (“pumpkin” is illustrated with a jack-o’-lantern); K is for a mostly black “kitten” standing in a coffin; and N is for “nightmare,” which is virtually impossible to express visually for this age group without provoking said nightmare. Here, a lavender-skinned child (zombie?) in pajamas and nightcap has arms raised and mouth open wide in surprise—perhaps in response to the mummy across the gutter? The tough letters use “quiver,” spider-decorated “underpants” on a monster, and “extra treats,” the x underlined.

While the ghoulies here are more cute than scary, “jump,” “quiver,” and “run” will probably get across the idea to even the youngest listeners that Halloween can be scary. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9527-9

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day.

MY DAY WITH GONG GONG

Spending a day with Gong Gong doesn’t sound like very much fun to May.

Gong Gong doesn’t speak English, and May doesn’t know Chinese. How can they have a good day together? As they stroll through an urban Chinatown, May’s perpetually sanguine maternal grandfather chats with friends and visits shops. At each stop, Cantonese words fly back and forth, many clearly pointed at May, who understands none of it. It’s equally exasperating trying to communicate with Gong Gong in English, and by the time they join a card game in the park with Gong Gong’s friends, May is tired, hungry, and frustrated. But although it seems like Gong Gong hasn’t been attentive so far, when May’s day finally comes to a head, it is clear that he has. First-person text gives glimpses into May’s lively thoughts as they evolve through the day, and Gong Gong’s unchangingly jolly face reflects what could be mistaken for blithe obliviousness but is actually his way of showing love through sharing the people and places of his life. Through adorable illustrations that exude humor and warmth, this portrait of intergenerational affection is also a tribute to life in Chinatown neighborhoods: Street vendors, a busker playing a Chinese violin, a dim sum restaurant, and more all combine to add a distinctive texture. 

A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77321-429-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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Should have readers and caregivers singing, clapping, and bouncing along.

THE BUTTON BOOK

This picture book plays on the universal temptation to push buttons.

A squirrel—presumably the first-person narrator of the book—finds a large, round, red button and wonders what would happen when it’s pressed. The squirrel presses the button, and a large rubber horn pops up and honks: “Beep!” The sound attracts a bird and a dog, and together the three come across a triangular orange button. “What does the orange button do?” they wonder, and they discover that it causes them all to clap. As the picture book progresses, other animals—including an elephant, a tortoise, a deer, and a small dinosaur—join the trio, and together they come across and press a giant hexagonal blue button, a round green button, a yellow button (literally—it looks as though it’s come off a coat), a square pink button, and a small purple button that can only be reached by climbing a ladder. Each of the buttons makes the friends do something different, from singing and bouncing to blowing raspberries. British writer Nicholls’ simple, silly narrative and Woollvin’s colorfully childlike illustrations result in a fun picture book that incorporates shapes and colors and that can be used at home and in libraries and classrooms. Pages are dominated by gray with accents—including the animals’ fur and feathers—changing to match the color of each button.

Should have readers and caregivers singing, clapping, and bouncing along. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7352-6715-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tundra

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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