I’M NOT FEELING WELL TODAY

Rhymes and rebuses see a young boy through his perhaps-not-so-sick-after-all day off from school tale from the two mistresses of this format. Our hero wakes up feeling a tad off. As he lies in bed, he sings a little cumulative poem of the things he will need: “I need a box of tissues, in case I sneeze . . . I need an extra blanket, if you please.” Blankets and pillows and a cozy cat soon give way to finger puppets and puzzles and, hey—why not?—a few cartoon programs on TV. After some tea and toast, when things get cracking, his mother pokes her head in his bedroom: “You think I’m not sick / because I did a tumbling trick? / You say if I were really ill, / I’d not complain, I’d just lie still?” Just when he’s beginning to feel a twinge of guilt about the whole thing, it’s discovered that there is no school that day on account of snow. “That is too bad! Hurrah! Hurray! / I’m glad I’m feeling well today!” Now that’s a nifty out, allowing a good laugh where some tsk-tsking is otherwise called for. “Once again, Parker’s guileless, watercolor and colored-pencil illustrations keep pace with the gathering rhyme, fitting rebuses into the verse text so that young readers can join in. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 30, 2001

ISBN: 0-688-17380-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2001

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Precious—but timely and comforting all the same.

WHILE WE CAN'T HUG

From the Hedgehog and Tortoise Story series

The two creatures who fulfilled each other’s yearning for physical contact in The Hug (2019) find alternative ways to connect in a time of social distancing.

Blushing and smiling and looking every bit as sweet as they did in their original meet-cute, Hedgehog and Tortoise respond to Owl’s reassurance that “there are lots of ways to show someone you love them” by standing on opposing pages and sending signals, letters, dances, air kisses, and songs across the gutter. Demonstrating their mutual love and friendship, they regard each other fondly across the gap through sun and storm, finally gesturing air hugs beneath a rainbow of colors and stars. “They could not touch. / They could not hug. // But they both knew / that they were loved.” In line with the minimalist narrative and illustrations there is no mention of the enforced separation’s cause nor, aside from the titular conjunction, any hint of its possible duration. Still, its core affirmation is delivered in a simple, direct, unmistakable way, and if the thematic connection with the previous outing seems made to order for a marketing opportunity, it does address a widespread emotional need in young (and maybe not so young) audiences. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9.8-by-19.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 78% of actual size.)

Precious—but timely and comforting all the same. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-5713-6558-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

AFTER ALL I'VE DONE

A middle-aged woman sidelined by a horrific accident finds even sharper pains waiting on the other side of her recuperation in this expert nightmare by Hardy, familiar to many readers as Megan Hart, author of All the Secrets We Keep (2017), etc.

Five months ago, while she was on her way to the hospital with an ailing gallbladder, Diana Sparrow’s car hit a deer on a rural Pennsylvania road. When she awoke, she was minus her gallbladder, two working collarbones (and therefore two functioning arms), and her memory. During a recovery that would’ve been impossible without the constant ministrations of Harriett Richmond, the mother-in-law who’s the real reason Diana married her husband, Jonathan, Diana’s discovered that Jonathan has been cheating on her with her childhood friend Valerie Delagatti. Divorce is out of the question: Diana’s grown used to the pampered lifestyle the prenup she’d signed would snatch away from her. Every day is filled with torments. She slips and falls in a pool of wine on her kitchen floor she’s sure she didn’t spill herself. At the emergency room, her credit card and debit card are declined. She feels that she hates oppressively solicitous Harriett but has no idea why. Her sessions with her psychiatrist fail to heal her rage at her adoptive mother, an addict who abandoned her then returned only to disappear again and die an ugly death. Even worse, her attempts to recover her lost memory lead to an excruciatingly paced series of revelations. Val says Diana asked her to seduce Jonathan. Diana realizes that Cole, a fellow student in her watercolor class, isn’t the stranger she’d thought he was. Where can this maze of deceptions possibly end?

One of those rare thrillers whose answers are even more scarifying than its mysteries.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64385-470-0

Page Count: 310

Publisher: Crooked Lane

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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I.Q. GETS FIT

I.Q., that lovable mouse, is back, this time helping children learn how to keep fit. At the kickoff assembly for Health Month, the speaker tells students that he will be awarding gold ribbons to everyone who passes the fitness test at the end of the month. I.Q. decides he will be one of them, but his preliminary results don’t exactly stack up to that of the kids. He works hard on his art project, though—a fitness poster—and adds to it each week as he learns more: “Eat a balanced diet,” “stay active,” “drink plenty of water” and “get lots of sleep.” Fraser’s droll illustrations steal the show as I.Q. uses everyday objects as fitness equipment and learns the hard way to follow the rules on his poster. He gets a stomachache after a brownie lunch, and after staying up too late reading, he falls asleep in math and skins his nose at recess. In the end, his results still don’t measure up, but his effort is rewarded with a ribbon for most improved. I.Q. is one determined mouse who will have youngsters cheering for him as they subtly absorb the lesson he’s teaching. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-8027-9558-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2007

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