A cozy tale with fantasy elements that lightly delivers a lesson.




A playful butterfly attempts to take flight in this series picture book.

Bethany Butterfly “loves to sing and flap her butterfly wings,” but hasn’t yet flown. She crosses out days of the week on a calendar to mark her attempts. Monday is too foggy. On Tuesday, Bethany apparently floats down to a pond, using a parasol. It snows on Wednesday. But when will be the day that Bethany soars on her own? This fourth book in Gray’s (Sidewalk Stories: The Lemonade Landing Mat, 2018, etc.) series features a simple, character-building message. In Shannon’s (The Moon Fox, 2019, etc.) sprightly, vivid illustrations, Bethany is blue, wears red sneakers, and has multicolored wings. She lives in a tiny furnished house in an anthropomorphic oak tree named Otis. Other friends include a white boy, a helpful squirrel, and a lounging cactus. Gray’s sunny narrative, composed of short lines of text above full-page illustrations, will keep young readers focused on the message of determination, with a recitation of weekdays as a parallel lesson. Coloring pages and humorous character bios, written as if the story were a performance, further add to the fun. However, an awkward request for readers to “please be part of our success” by contributing online reviews might be rethought in future editions.

A cozy tale with fantasy elements that lightly delivers a lesson.

Pub Date: March 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-09-032421-4

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves


A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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A treat to be savored—and a lesson learned—any time of year.


From the Love Monster series

The surprised recipient of a box of chocolates agonizes over whether to eat the whole box himself or share with his friends.

Love Monster is a chocoholic, so when he discovers the box on his doorstep, his mouth waters just thinking about what might be inside; his favorite’s a double chocolate strawberry swirl. The brief thought that he should share these treats with his friends is easily rationalized away. Maybe there won’t be enough for everyone, perhaps someone will eat his favorite, or, even worse, leave him with his least favorite: the coffee one! Bright’s pacing and tone are on target throughout, her words conveying to readers exactly what the monster is thinking and feeling: “So he went into his house. And so did the box of chocolates…without a whisper of a word to anyone.” This is followed by a “queasy-squeezy” feeling akin to guilt and then by a full-tilt run to his friends, chocolates in hand, and a breathless, stream-of-consciousness confession, only to be brought up short by what’s actually in the box. And the moral is just right: “You see, sometimes it’s when you stop to think of others…that you start to find out just how much they think of you.” Monster’s wide eyes and toothy mouth convey his emotions wonderfully, and the simple backgrounds keep the focus on his struggle.

A treat to be savored—and a lesson learned—any time of year. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-00-754030-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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