Engaging illustrations embellish a somewhat odd tale.



Why does Dormouse keep showing up—asleep—in other animals’ homes, and how will the dilemma be solved?

“The days in Green Forest were tranquil and uneventful, sometimes even verging on boring.” From the start, the text’s syntax and vocabulary, together with its charming artwork, invite a cozy read-aloud. Each day of this exceptional week, Dormouse inadvertently frightens a different friend by unexpectedly showing up somewhere in their home. Droll illustrations in a cool palette with russet highlights show diminutive Dormouse in locations such as the bathrobe-garbed Rabbit’s indoor carrot patch, Deer’s right antler, and Tortoise’s glasses case. After these and four other animals forbid Dormouse from continuing the practice—without allowing him to explain himself—they learn from Owl, who “would stay awake at night keeping watch over the forest,” that Dormouse, afraid of sleeping alone, has fled to the home turf of “ferocious” Wolf for company. Realistically, an owl is a greater threat to a dormouse than a wolf, but Wolf as villain adds to the fairy-tale flavor of the narrative. Rabbit’s use of “Guys!” detracts from it, as do erratically placed words in boldface. After rescuing Dormouse, the friends figure out a system that seems to work fine. Finally, Dormouse himself arrives at a new solution—which readers may find anticlimactic or possibly off-putting. Judging by pronouns and clothing, all characters are male except for Owl and Pygmy Shrew.

Engaging illustrations embellish a somewhat odd tale. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-84-946926-6-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: nubeOCHO

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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Banal affirmation buoyed by charming illustrations.


Diversity is the face of this picture book designed to inspire confidence in children.

Fans of Byers and Bobo’s I Am Enough (2018) will enjoy this book that comes with a universal message of self-acceptance. A line of children practices ballet at the barre; refreshingly, two of the four are visibly (and adorably) pudgy. Another group tends a couple of raised beds; one of them wears hijab. Two more children coax a trepidatious friend down a steep slide. Further images, of children pretending to be pirates, dragons, mimes, playing superhero and soccer, and cooking, are equally endearing, but unfortunately they don’t add enough heft to set the book apart from other empowerment books for children. Though the illustrations shine, the text remains pedagogic and bland. Clichés abound: “When I believe in myself, there’s simply nothing I can’t do”; “Sometimes I am right, and sometimes I am wrong. / But even when I make mistakes, I learn from them to make me strong.” The inclusion of children with varying abilities, religions, genders, body types, and racial presentations creates an inviting tone that makes the book palatable. It’s hard to argue with the titular sentiment, but this is not the only book of its ilk on the shelf.

Banal affirmation buoyed by charming illustrations. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-266713-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for...


Oliver, of first-day-of-school alligator fame, is back, imagining adventures and still struggling to find balance between introversion and extroversion.

“When Oliver found his egg…” on the playground, mint-green backgrounds signifying Oliver’s flight into fancy slowly grow larger until they take up entire spreads; Oliver’s creature, white and dinosaurlike with orange polka dots, grows larger with them. Their adventures include sharing treats, sailing the seas and going into outer space. A classmate’s yell brings him back to reality, where readers see him sitting on top of a rock. Even considering Schmid’s scribbly style, readers can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he ponders the girl and whether or not to give up his solitary play. “But when Oliver found his rock… // Oliver imagined many adventures // with all his friends!” This last is on a double gatefold that opens to show the children enjoying the creature’s slippery curves. A final wordless spread depicts all the children sitting on rocks, expressions gleeful, wondering, waiting, hopeful. The illustrations, done in pastel pencil and digital color, again make masterful use of white space and page turns, although this tale is not nearly as funny or tongue-in-cheek as Oliver and His Alligator (2013), nor is its message as clear and immediately accessible to children.

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for all children but sadly isn’t. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7573-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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