The mayhem of young family life seen through a positive, whimsical lens.

A celebration of the sometimes-exasperating, but always entertaining, shenanigans of irrepressibly energetic young children.

As Levy explains in a brief introduction, mazik “is a Yiddish word for a devilish imp or a rambunctious mischief-maker.” The story follows the daily antics of two sibling maziks—cued as female and male—with White human parents. At breakfast time, the maziks—portrayed as happy little monsters with small fangs and pink and green skin—make a huge mess; ditto during crafts time in the living room. On some days, they attend school, where they hide under or jump on the furniture. On other days, they enjoy a rowdy, splashy romp at the pool or have a wild frolic with a multiracial group of neighborhood human kids. At dinnertime, they spill their juice and slip the cat challah bread before having a bedtime pillow fight. The rhyming text is filled with rhetorical questions (“Do they rumble? / Do they fight? / Do they snarl with all their might?” etc.) as the narrator repeatedly wonders, “What do maziks do each day?” The colorful, busy artwork subtly indicates that this Jewish family observes Shabbat and ends each day with a Sh’ma prayer and that the maziks attend a Judaic school. Non-Jewish readers may miss these details, but the book’s depiction of the hectic, demanding life of an active young family will be familiar to all little hellions and their exhausted parents. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

The mayhem of young family life seen through a positive, whimsical lens. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72842-427-9

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022


From the Big Bright Feelings series

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance.

A boy with wings learns to be himself and inspires others like him to soar, too.

Norman, a “perfectly normal” boy, never dreamed he might grow wings. Afraid of what his parents might say, he hides his new wings under a big, stuffy coat. Although the coat hides his wings from the world, Norman no longer finds joy in bathtime, playing at the park, swimming, or birthday parties. With the gentle encouragement of his parents, who see his sadness, Norman finds the courage to come out of hiding and soar. Percival (The Magic Looking Glass, 2017, etc.) depicts Norman with light skin and dark hair. Black-and-white illustrations show his father with dark skin and hair and his mother as white. The contrast of black-and-white illustrations with splashes of bright color complements the story’s theme. While Norman tries to be “normal,” the world and people around him look black and gray, but his coat stands out in yellow. Birds pop from the page in pink, green, and blue, emphasizing the joy and beauty of flying free. The final spread, full of bright color and multiracial children in flight, sets the mood for Norman’s realization on the last page that there is “no such thing as perfectly normal,” but he can be “perfectly Norman.”

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-785-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018


A spot-on series installment that imparts a valuable lesson on the importance of honesty.

Will Llama Llama come clean after breaking one of Mama’s prized possessions?

While Mama Llama gardens outdoors, Llama Llama and a friend who appears to be a young goat play inside. Their boisterous activities include pillow fighting, running up the stairs and sliding down the bannister, swinging from lamps, and jumping on the sofa—fun that is possible “Only when Mama is not there.” They move on to playing catch: Llama Llama throws vigorously, and the ball shatters Mama’s favorite picture frame. Uh-oh. What to do? The pair consider running to Kalamazoo. When Mama returns, Llama Llama first blames the wind, then a dinosaur, then a meteorite. Mama doubts these possibilities, and Llama Llama cries but admits to the lie. Mama praises his courage, and the three of them repair the frame. Later, throwing a pass outside, Mama breaks a window herself! With humor and sympathy, this tale brings to life a very common experience that will resonate with preschoolers. Mama reacts with model parenting, and Llama Llama quickly accepts the blame and the necessity of truth-telling. Morrow’s illustrations add both drama and a reassuring note. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A spot-on series installment that imparts a valuable lesson on the importance of honesty. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2023

ISBN: 9780593352489

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2023

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