A raucous rumpus of royal persuasion.

NEVER TRUMPET WITH A CRUMPET

A queen invites a host of animals to tea. Will they mind their manners?

In lively rhyme, Gibson follows a smattering of guests to the royal palace. An elephant, a giraffe, a moose, and more tromp inside, ready for tea. But they aren’t sure how to behave. Gibson cautions readers to not follow the animals’ instincts. “Sip your tea. Don’t lap it up. / No blowing bubbles in your cup. / Show courtesy. Don’t take too much, / but always take the one you touch.” The queen becomes increasingly appalled by the spills, sprays, and mayhem, but the young prince is delighted in watching others break the rules (ones that have surely been told to him many times). A few messages get muddled with the animal references: “Sit up straight. Don’t slump. Don’t slouch. / Lay your napkin on your pouch.” (A small opossum does have a napkin across her lap in the illustration but is also hanging upside down above the table with her head turned a full and alarming 180 degrees; this may leave readers wondering more than just exactly where their pouches are). Harney dresses the queen in furs and frills, with a high, white bouffant wig and pointed features. Her son is more cherubic, with a twinkle in his eye to show his penchant for mischief. They (the only two humans in evidence) both present white.

A raucous rumpus of royal persuasion. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62979-304-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

I AM ENOUGH

A feel-good book about self-acceptance.

Empire star Byers and Bobo offer a beautifully illustrated, rhyming picture book detailing what one brown-skinned little girl with an impressive Afro appreciates about herself. Relying on similes, the text establishes a pattern with the opening sentence, “Like the sun, I’m here to shine,” and follows it through most of the book. Some of them work well, while others fall flat: “Like the rain, I’m here to pour / and drip and fall until I’m full.” In some vignettes she’s by herself; and in others, pictured along with children of other races. While the book’s pro-diversity message comes through, the didactic and even prideful expressions of self-acceptance make the book exasperatingly preachy—a common pitfall for books by celebrity authors. In contrast, Bobo’s illustrations are visually stunning. After painting the children and the objects with which they interact, such as flowers, books, and a red wagon, in acrylic on board for a traditional look, she scanned the images into Adobe Photoshop and added the backgrounds digitally in chalk. This lends a whimsical feel to such details as a rainbow, a window, wind, and rain—all reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Bobo creates an inclusive world of girls in which wearing glasses, using a wheelchair, wearing a head scarf, and having a big Afro are unconditionally accepted rather than markers for othering.

A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266712-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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