This picture book is A-OK.

IT'S OKAY TO MAKE MISTAKES

Parr encourages readers to see mistakes as opportunities with characteristic élan.

In his ineffable fashion, Parr delivers a reassuring mashup that’s part Keith Haring and part Sesame Street. Parr’s signature drawings with bold, black outlines and vibrant colors depict various characters making various mistakes and then making the best of the situations that arise from them. The accompanying text names those missteps and then shows the silver lining to each one on a facing page. For example: “It’s okay to get dirty,” reads one verso, and the facing recto responds, “A bubble bath is lots of fun.” Starting with the cover art that shows a dog with socks on its ears and a child wearing boxer shorts like a hat, silly details abound to keep the message from overpowering the feel-good fun of its presentation. In addition to his trademark purple-, orange- and red-skinned humans, Parr includes a bevy of animals from dogs and ducks to skunks and elephants. Examples of “mistakes” range from genuine goofs (falling down, tangling shoelaces) to character traits (shyness), behaviors (losing one’s temper) and developmental differences (not knowing an answer in school), but the “look on the bright side” response is always on-target.

This picture book is A-OK. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: July 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-316-23053-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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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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