A miss.



Poor Alan really needs to go!

In a text rife with potty-humor punning, Alan (a blue teddy bear), is in line to go “whizzing down the very tall slide with his friends” at a fair when he starts dancing furiously. Giraffe and others ask why he’s doing this, and he explains “I need to wee!” But he doesn’t want to interrupt his fun to take care of business. Unfortunately, delays, long lines, and other impediments on the way to the potty make the situation “desperate.” Alan searches for quasi-potties but is stymied at every turn: He can’t use a doll’s toilet because it’s the “teeny tiny” one in her dollhouse; Robot objects to his attempted use of a teapot: “It’s…not a wee-pot!”; Magic Rabbit exclaims, “Don’t even think about it!” when Alan nearly pees in its hat. When Alan inadvertently ends up dancing away on stage, he wins first prize in a contest and is awarded a large, gold trophy, which he promptly uses to relieve himself. What happens to the resulting urine is left to readers to ponder, though perhaps many would rather leave the book aside without solving that mystery, since the story’s seemingly interminable chain of events grows tiresome well before its resolution. The busy digital illustrations with a palette verging on the garish don’t offer much relief.

A miss. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9039-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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A fun and visually inviting book that encourages children to consider one more “when I grow up” possibility.


Make room, Doc McStuffins! Another young brown-skinned physician has arrived to attend to every ailment.

Dr. Zaza, who wears a pink-and-white–checked dress and an apron with a red cross on it, looks out at readers from the cover as she checks the heartbeat of a brightly colored, variegated-patterned stuffed rabbit—one of the many stuffed patients she takes care of throughout the book. Dr. Zaza checks Rosie the koala bear’s earache, Bobby the rabbit’s heartbeat, George the giraffe’s sore throat, Pinkie the bunny’s temperature, and Mo the snake’s scratch. When Mo requires a bandage, so does everyone else. And Dr. Zaza delivers. The protagonist’s deep brown skin and afro-puff hairdo offer a mirror for many readers of color and a window for others while also emphasizing that imaginative play around STEM professions should be the purview of children from every background. And even though Dr. Zaza cares only for stuffed animals thus far, her competence and willingness to help both suggest that medicine will likely be a good fit for her. The deeply-saturated, single-color backgrounds establish a warm and inviting mood for Dr. Zaza’s work, who seems more than content to help. Companion title Celebrate with Zaza finds Zaza in a more traditionally feminine role, coordinating Rosie’s birthday party.

A fun and visually inviting book that encourages children to consider one more “when I grow up” possibility. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-60537-375-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Clavis

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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The sweet sibling relationship and the focus on Daddy as primary caregiver make this one stand out.


From the Backpack Baby series

Big brother Jacob helps Daddy take care of mischievous Little Sister in the newest offering in the Backpack Baby board-book series.

Neither Jacob nor his sister rides on Daddy’s back in this book. Here, Jacob walks, and Little Sister rides in a stroller—for a little while anyway. Adorable, grinning Little Sister wears a yellow dress with pink flowers and a matching hat, which she is desperate to jettison. She tosses it off her head, flings it into the water with the ducks, and finally succeeds in getting rid of it by propping it on the head of a passing puppy. While Little Sister’s antics provide comic relief, the real meat of the story is Jacob’s development, specifically the pleasure he gets from taking care of his sister and the bonding time he shares with Daddy. When Little Sister runs toward the duck pond, Jacob runs after her, wrapping his arms around her securely just as she reaches the edge. When the family stops for some ice cream, he and Daddy laugh together as Little Sister makes a mess, and they enjoy a needed rest when she finally takes a nap. The unfussy illustrations feature the three characters against solid backgrounds, emphasizing the interpersonal dynamics at the heart of the story.

The sweet sibling relationship and the focus on Daddy as primary caregiver make this one stand out. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59572-689-6

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Star Bright

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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