A humorous, engaging tale of a child confused by his parents’ complaints.


In Ryan’s debut children’s book, a young boy imagines his parents have a pet that makes messes and causes trouble around the house.

A young boy is perplexed. His parents often comment on the vexing, mysterious behavior of “my pet peeve,” and he’s confused because he can’t see this pet: “ ‘Where did these crumbs on the couch come from?’ my mom asks. ‘That is my pet peeve!’ ” and “ ‘Why is there water all over the bathroom floor?’ my dad asks. ‘That is my pet peeve!’ ” With each new situation, the boy learns another clue about the pet’s identity. For instance, “[s]ometimes Peeve uses my stuff without my permission. ‘Who left a skateboard at the bottom of the staircase?’ my dad asks.” The parents are irked by behavior that ranges from leaving a dirty cereal bowl on the table to tracking mud around the living room to getting chocolaty fingerprints on the piano keys. These are the kinds of careless but commonplace things that kids do every day, so the story may help teach youngsters about the importance of taking care of things and of being aware of how one’s actions can affect others. The boy imagines that Peeve is small and fast, possibly with a horn and spiky tail or maybe a pair of wings; it’s amusing to see the child trying to figure out what’s going on. The book also makes clear to young readers exactly who Peeve is, with most of its space devoted to Durkin’s colorful illustrations that clearly show the situations that irritate the parents. The images also make it easier to understand the text, and with so much repetition, it’s a good book for young readers to practice new words. It may also inspire kids to talk with their parents or teachers about their own pet peeves.

A humorous, engaging tale of a child confused by his parents’ complaints.

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1612252445

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Mirror Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

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Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit.


From the Who's in Your Book? series

Readers try to dislodge a monster from the pages of this emotive and interactive read-aloud.

“OH NO!” the story starts. “There’s a monster in your book!” The blue, round-headed monster with pink horns and a pink-tipped tail can be seen cheerfully munching on the opening page. “Let’s try to get him out,” declares the narrator. Readers are encouraged to shake, tilt, and spin the book around, while the monster careens around an empty background looking scared and lost. Viewers are exhorted to tickle the monster’s feet, blow on the page, and make a really loud noise. Finally, shockingly, it works: “Now he’s in your room!” But clearly a monster in your book is safer than a monster in your room, so he’s coaxed back into the illustrations and lulled to sleep, curled up under one page and cuddling a bit of another like a child with their blankie. The monster’s entirely cute appearance and clear emotional reactions to his treatment add to the interactive aspect, and some young readers might even resist the instructions to avoid hurting their new pal. Children will be brought along on the monster’s journey, going from excited, noisy, and wiggly to calm and steady (one can hope).

Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6456-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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A rollicking tale of rivalry.


Sweet Street had just one baker, Monsieur Oliphant, until two new confectionists move in, bringing a sugar rush of competition and customers.

First comes “Cookie Concocter par excellence” Mademoiselle Fee and then a pie maker, who opens “the divine Patisserie Clotilde!” With each new arrival to Sweet Street, rivalries mount and lines of hungry treat lovers lengthen. Children will delight in thinking about an abundance of gingerbread cookies, teetering, towering cakes, and blackbird pies. Wonderfully eccentric line-and-watercolor illustrations (with whites and marbled pastels like frosting) appeal too. Fine linework lends specificity to an off-kilter world in which buildings tilt at wacky angles and odd-looking (exclusively pale) people walk about, their pantaloons, ruffles, long torsos, and twiglike arms, legs, and fingers distinguishing them as wonderfully idiosyncratic. Rotund Monsieur Oliphant’s periwinkle complexion, flapping ears, and elongated nose make him look remarkably like an elephant while the women confectionists appear clownlike, with exaggerated lips, extravagantly lashed eyes, and voluminous clothes. French idioms surface intermittently, adding a certain je ne sais quoi. Embedded rhymes contribute to a bouncing, playful narrative too: “He layered them and cherried them and married people on them.” Tension builds as the cul de sac grows more congested with sweet-makers, competition, frustration, and customers. When the inevitable, fantastically messy food fight occurs, an observant child finds a sweet solution amid the delicious detritus.

A rollicking tale of rivalry. (Picture book. 4-8 )

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-101-91885-2

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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