Foot-stomping fit pitchers will take multiple timeouts for this amusing modern fable.


Amelia helps a 9-foot blue gorilla named Nilson avoid tantrums by repeatedly reminding him, “No fits, Nilson!”

Chunky, acrylic illustrations depict age-old meltdown triggers: a toppled block tower, uncooperative sneakers that just (eeergh!) won’t get (oof!) on your feet and boring grown-up errands. Cheery matte colors, crisp white spaces and thick black outlines carve out a child’s binary world, in which moods run from hot to cold in a mercurial minute. When Nilson rages, his simian eyes squint, his shoulders hulk, and his mouth spews GAARRRGHH! in oversized, black, block letters. Children will empathize and, thanks to Nilson’s absurdity (this ape wears a newsboy cap, multiple watches and Adidas), see tantrums for what they really are—disproportionate and silly. Amelia, a cutie with hair clips, an inky bob, stripy tights and a monster scooter helmet, seems to always keep her cool…until the ice-cream truck runs out of her favorite banana flavor. Watch out! Readers sigh with relief when Nilson shares his scoop, and another fit is averted; they giggle with unexpected pleasure when Amelia kisses him good night and see that he’s a pint-sized stuffed animal who’s actually been helping her manage her feelings all along.

Foot-stomping fit pitchers will take multiple timeouts for this amusing modern fable. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: June 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3852-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2013

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...


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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Fun format; bland text.


From the Block Books series

A hefty board book filled with ruminations on the nature of love.

While love is the topic of this board book, it’s the inventive gatefolds and charmingly vintage illustrations that readers will fall for. Brimming with sweeping declarations along the lines of “Love is / strong. // You have my back and I’ll always have yours,” the text sounds like a series of greeting cards strung together. It’s benign enough, but are most toddlers interested in generic proclamations about love? Some statements, like the ones on “unsinkable” hippos or a panda parent holding a cub “steady,” could introduce new vocabulary. At least there’s plenty of winsome critters to fawn over as the surprisingly sturdy flaps tell dramatic little ministories for each cartoon-style animal species. A downcast baby giraffe looks longingly up at a too-high tasty branch; lift a flap to bring an adult giraffe—and the delicacy—down to the baby, or watch an adventurous young fox retreat into a fold-down–flap burrow to learn that “my heart will always be home with you.” At points, the pages are tricky to turn in the correct order, but clever touches, like a series of folds that slow readers down to a sloth’s speed, make up for it. The book concludes with a gatefold revealing a vibrant playground populated with racially and ethnically diverse humans; two are wheelchair users.

Fun format; bland text. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3153-2

Page Count: 84

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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