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TIM'S GOODBYE

A succinct text and an uncluttered design provide space to discover and process a loss.

How do you let go of a departed pet?

Salerno’s retro caricatures exemplify comforting memorial behaviors. Black crayon is used to form the characters on the sunny yellow pages; a controlled digital palette includes accents of darker yellow, white, and black. Channeling a Bemelmans’ heroine, Margot wears a skirt and an oversized bow in her pageboy. The minimalist garden setting features a chair, four white tulips, and a yellow lump. Thoughtful friends contribute blue balloons and a box. Otto dons his “best hat,” while Melinda plays a “cheerful melody” on her French horn. Buddy the dog is actively present. The lump turns out to be Tim, who, when covered with the flowers and arranged in the box, ascends into the now-blue sky “to a place where he basked in the warm sun and swam in cool waters, forever a happy turtle.” As in Remy Charlip’s and, later, Christian Robinson’s versions of Margaret Wise Brown’s The Dead Bird (1958, 2016), Salerno shows readers how to help a friend mourn a dead animal. Most important, of course, is showing up. Similar to the kites in the aforementioned editions, the balloons add an important buoyancy to the telling, providing a possible entree to matters of the spirit, if readers desire it. The characters are all the yellow of the paper save friend Vincent, who is a darker yellow and has crinkly dark hair.

A succinct text and an uncluttered design provide space to discover and process a loss. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-374-30647-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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IZZY GIZMO AND THE INVENTION CONVENTION

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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WOO HOO! YOU'RE DOING GREAT!

WOO-HOO! This is the perfect way to foster healthy self-esteem in little ones.

What’s better than a cheerleading chicken?

Are you ever blue, unsure, tired, or overworked? Do you ever feel lost or overwhelmed? This uplifting book, expressed in delightful, jaunty verse, explains how to lift your spirits pronto: What you need is a booster chicken telling you’re doing great even when you’re not so confident, as when you’re learning or practicing a new skill, for instance. Your feathered champion will be right there, encouraging you all the way, with a loud “WOO HOO!” that’ll keep you going and remove any doubt you’re super terrific. But what if your cheerful chick errs and doesn’t do what it set out to do? Don’t worry—your cheery chicken just needs a reminder that everyone makes mistakes. That alone is a pep talk, enhanced by the wisdom that making mistakes allows everyone to learn and demonstrate they did their best. So forgive yourself, chickens! But the best thing is…instead of relying on someone else—like a chicken—to strengthen your ego, say a generous daily “WOO HOO!” to yourself. This riotous book hits all the right notes and does so succinctly and hilariously. The energetic, comical illustrations, in Boynton’s signature style, will elicit giggles and go far to make the book’s important point. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

WOO-HOO! This is the perfect way to foster healthy self-esteem in little ones. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 4, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-316-48679-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2023

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