Kirkus Reviews QR Code
WHAT A COLD NEEDS by Barbara Bottner


by Barbara Bottner ; illustrated by Chris Sheban

Pub Date: Feb. 12th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-8234-4172-3
Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Being sick is never fun, but it helps to know exactly what a cold might need to go on its way.

Follow along as a young child copes with a cold and makes note of everything important to feel better. Warm socks, puppy snuggles, and a bit of sympathy from your siblings are just a few things that come to mind that help our young protagonist. The text phrases these necessities with lyricism and whimsy: A cold “likes to listen to the chirping of the birds // and the tinkling of raindrops, / with a clear view of the sweet blue sky.” Sheban’s soft-edged illustrations join Bottner’s soothingly paced text, offering full-page and vignette illustrations to accompany complex sentences beat by beat and slowing down for languorous double-page spreads where a single clause or simple declarative sentence stops to take its time for, for instance, some “music and a long, deep afternoon nap.” Here the child sleeps, mouth open (a red nose attests that it’s plugged), a snoozing dog atop the blankets and a radio emitting musical notes. The palette, sun-drenched greens and earth hues, is visual chicken soup. The protagonist’s mom has light-brown skin and her dad presents white, suggesting an interracial family.

Kids will find comfort in the familiar “needs” of the cold and knowing that they will get better soon to “run around and cause just a little trouble” once again.

(Picture book. 4-8)