Vague, slapdash reassurances to readers growing up in a worrisome world.

Simple comforts for young fretters and overthinkers.

Recycling themes and even some images from The I'm Not Scared Book (2011), Parr first enumerates a selective list of things that can cause anxiety (fears of the dark or of having to go to the doctor, having too much to do, being bullied) and times that worrying can happen. The latter include lying awake in bed, watching TV, "looking at screens too much" (a frazzled-looking person holds a tablet), and overhearing "bad news"—exemplified with an image of a flying saucer, travelers from abroad (of one sort or another) being much on people's minds these days. He then goes on to general coping strategies ranging from taking deep breaths to visiting friends, dancing, squeezing a toy, or just thinking about "everyone who loves and takes care of you!" "Worrying doesn't help you," he concludes, but talking about concerns will. Readers searching for books that address deeper-seated anxiety might be better served by Me and My Fear, by Francesca Sanna (2018). In Parr's thick-lined, minimally detailed illustrations, the artist employs his characteristic technique of adding blue, purple, and bright yellow to the palette of skin tones; he also occasionally switches out human figures for dogs or cats behaving as people would. It's a strategy, though it leaves the cast with a generic look overall.

Vague, slapdash reassurances to readers growing up in a worrisome world. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: June 18, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-50668-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019


A timely message in the wrong format.

This book delivers a message on the power of collective action.

As the book opens, a child looks at a lone star shining in the sky: “One star shines as distant light.” After the turn of the page, the child now sees what looks like the Milky Way: “And when stars shine together, they make our galaxy.” The book goes on to give a number of similar examples to reinforce the message of the power that comes from working together, ending with: “One of us can speak up for justice / And when we speak up together we create a world of possibility.” In the current atmosphere of strife and discord that divides our country, this is certainly a welcome message. Perhaps, though, the board-book set is not the right audience. As a picture book aimed at a slightly older group with an information page at the end explaining some of the illustrations, it might work well. As it is, however, some of the visual references will merely puzzle a toddler—and some adults. For example, a group of angry-looking people raising their fists and singing together may not look like “harmony” to a toddler—unless they know about the New Zealand haka. There is an unexplained frog motif that runs through the book that may also mystify readers. Nagara’s brilliant illustrations portray people of many ethnic backgrounds.

A timely message in the wrong format. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64421-084-0

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Triangle Square Books for Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021


From the Zoe and Zack series

Conceptually elegant, visually clean, uncluttered—and sure to inspire young artists everywhere.

A charming lesson for young Michaelangelos and O’Keeffes on drawing geometric shapes—and from them, simple representational images.

Artist-turned-educator-turned–children’s book creator Duquennoy has created an entertaining and inventive vehicle to teach youngsters both basic shapes and some simple drawings that can be made with them. As with the simultaneously published companion volume, Opposites, this book makes clever use of die-cut pages, here combined with clear acetate windows to show children how simple lines become familiar shapes, then toys and animals. Zack the chameleon draws a curved semicircle on one page; on the facing page, Zoe the zebra can be seen drawing a complementary semicircle on the clear window between them. When the page is turned, the two curved lines combine to form a circle. Zack draws more circles, and Zoe does the same, in seemingly random patterns, until a turn of the page creates a composite image of a teddy bear. Squares can be used, the two friends suggest, to draw a robot. Triangles are used to draw fish. All three shapes can be combined to construct a rudimentary but clearly recognizable “beautiful bird…ready to fly high in the sky.” It’s an admirably simple device to encourage crayon aficionados with still-developing motor skills to make the jump from scribbles to basic representational drawing.

Conceptually elegant, visually clean, uncluttered—and sure to inspire young artists everywhere. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-2-74708-699-8

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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