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A sly tale of trickery and familial bonds.

A lost tiger cub is fluffy, cuddly, and…conniving.

Readers were introduced to the odd household trio—paternal Wolf, childlike Little Lamb, and their alligator, Omelet—in Smallman’s previous works (The Lamb Who Came for Dinner, 2006, etc.). Omelet has since grown and now loves to play fetch. Unfortunately, sometimes he brings back other items instead of the stick. When he triumphantly brings back a sopping wet tiger cub one day, Little Lamb is thrilled. A new, cuddly pet! But alas, they cannot keep her. They must help her find her way back home. On the journey back through the woods, Fluffy the cub becomes increasingly interested in Little Lamb. She eagerly licks Little Lamb while salivating, with expressive eyes that reveal how much she wants a tasty snack. Little Lamb and Wolf think the attention is adorable, but Omelet sees through the ruse. When they make it to Fluffy’s home, will Little Lamb become dinner? Little Lamb’s and Wolf’s obliviousness amps up the silliness, eliciting groans from readers, who will be well aware of Fluffy’s true feelings. Omelet may not be a fuzzy or cute pet (slippery scales and pointy teeth and all), but he’s a devoted one who saves the day. Making use of vignettes and graphic novel–esque panels, Dreidemy’s cartoonish illustrations brim with warmth. Text and art make crystal-clear that found family can be the best family. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A sly tale of trickery and familial bonds. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 14, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-66430-022-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2022

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From the Izzy Gizmo series

A disappointing follow-up.

Inventor Izzy Gizmo is back in this sequel to her eponymous debut (2017).

While busily inventing one day, Izzy receives an invitation from the Genius Guild to their annual convention. Though Izzy’s “inventions…don’t always work,” Grandpa (apparently her sole caregiver) encourages her to go. The next day they undertake a long journey “over fields, hills, and waves” and “mile after mile” to isolated Technoff Isle. There, Izzy finds she must compete against four other kids to create the most impressive machine. The colorful, detail-rich illustrations chronicle how poor Izzy is thwarted at every turn by Abi von Lavish, a Veruca Salt–esque character who takes all the supplies for herself. But when Abi abandons her project, Izzy salvages the pieces and decides to take Grandpa’s advice to create a machine that “can really be put to good use.” A frustrated Izzy’s impatience with a friend almost foils her chance at the prize, but all’s well that ends well. There’s much to like: Brown-skinned inventor girl Izzy is an appealing character, it’s great to see a nurturing brown-skinned male caregiver, the idea of an “Invention Convention” is fun, and a sustainable-energy invention is laudable. However, these elements don’t make up for rhymes that often feel forced and a lackluster story.

A disappointing follow-up. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68263-164-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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From the Big Bright Feelings series

A valuable asset to the library of a child who experiences anxiety and a great book to get children talking about their...

Ruby is an adventurous and happy child until the day she discovers a Worry.

Ruby barely sees the Worry—depicted as a blob of yellow with a frowny unibrow—at first, but as it hovers, the more she notices it and the larger it grows. The longer Ruby is affected by this Worry, the fewer colors appear on the page. Though she tries not to pay attention to the Worry, which no one else can see, ignoring it prevents her from enjoying the things that she once loved. Her constant anxiety about the Worry causes the bright yellow blob to crowd Ruby’s everyday life, which by this point is nearly all washes of gray and white. But at the playground, Ruby sees a boy sitting on a bench with a growing sky-blue Worry of his own. When she invites the boy to talk, his Worry begins to shrink—and when Ruby talks about her own Worry, it also grows smaller. By the book’s conclusion, Ruby learns to control her Worry by talking about what worries her, a priceless lesson for any child—or adult—conveyed in a beautifully child-friendly manner. Ruby presents black, with hair in cornrows and two big afro-puff pigtails, while the boy has pale skin and spiky black hair.

A valuable asset to the library of a child who experiences anxiety and a great book to get children talking about their feelings (. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0237-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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