Even the endpapers are in on the fun.

READ REVIEW

IS THAT A CAT?

Will this series of mistaken identities have a happy ending?

“I wish I had another cat to hang out with,” says an orange tabby. Then she sees what she thinks might be the crook of a cat’s tail outside the window. When she goes to investigate, she finds an elf hoping for rain so he can test his new umbrella (the crook the cat saw). The elf thinks he’s found his rainstorm, but it’s the copious tears of a bear who’s sad he’s lost his boot. The bear thinks he sees his boot off in the distance, but that turns out to be the nose of a dog looking for a bone. The group grows with each case of mistaken identity, until, with a bird looking for a worm, they all find a boy filling his pool and hoping for a party of friends. When a group of kids passes him by without a glance, the cat asks the boy if the ragtag bunch of questers could stay and have a party. Much splashing fun ensues. Hamilton’s easy-reading picture book, told all in apparently hand-lettered dialogue bubbles, is a nice twist on the cumulative tale. Listeners and young readers alike will enjoy trying to guess what each item is before it’s revealed. The author’s scratchy watercolor-and-ink cartoon illustrations are, of course, a perfect match.

Even the endpapers are in on the fun. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3384-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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Banal affirmation buoyed by charming illustrations.

I BELIEVE I CAN

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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