A mild, recognizable adventure for toddlers.

THE BIG BALLOON

From the Pip and Posy series

Bright, brief, undeniably cute but still rather bland, Pip and Posy’s (The Scary Monster, 2012, etc.) third adventure involves a mishap with a red balloon.

Vibrant gouache hues paint the everyday world of these two animal friends. “Pip had a…balloon of his very own. He liked it a lot.” He shows it to Posy, and off they go on a walk. As they admire toys in a store window, “by mistake, Pip let the balloon go!” They chase after it until it pops on a sharp tree branch in the park. Pip is crushed: “He cried and cried and cried.” Toddlers and preschoolers will relate to Pip’s unfortunate turn of events and his ensuing tears. When Posy has the inspired idea to blow bubbles, Pip emerges from his misery and has some fun; they do not mind when they pop, “because that’s what bubbles are supposed to do!” Simple text constructed with a controlled vocabulary and presented in a large font may make this a decent choice for new readers as well as a read-aloud for toddlers, even though the relative lack of story and pat ending limit its overall appeal.

A mild, recognizable adventure for toddlers. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6372-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nosy Crow/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 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...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

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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Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for...

OLIVER AND HIS EGG

Oliver, of first-day-of-school alligator fame, is back, imagining adventures and still struggling to find balance between introversion and extroversion.

“When Oliver found his egg…” on the playground, mint-green backgrounds signifying Oliver’s flight into fancy slowly grow larger until they take up entire spreads; Oliver’s creature, white and dinosaurlike with orange polka dots, grows larger with them. Their adventures include sharing treats, sailing the seas and going into outer space. A classmate’s yell brings him back to reality, where readers see him sitting on top of a rock. Even considering Schmid’s scribbly style, readers can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he ponders the girl and whether or not to give up his solitary play. “But when Oliver found his rock… // Oliver imagined many adventures // with all his friends!” This last is on a double gatefold that opens to show the children enjoying the creature’s slippery curves. A final wordless spread depicts all the children sitting on rocks, expressions gleeful, wondering, waiting, hopeful. The illustrations, done in pastel pencil and digital color, again make masterful use of white space and page turns, although this tale is not nearly as funny or tongue-in-cheek as Oliver and His Alligator (2013), nor is its message as clear and immediately accessible to children.

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for all children but sadly isn’t. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7573-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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