Timeless of premise but not exactly fresh and, at best, inept of execution.


Justification, or maybe just deserts, for prehistoric or modern young contradictosauruses.

In essence a retread of Stegothesaurus (2018) with an altered setup and a woefully muddled ending, this prehistoric episode pits beleaguered parents against a stubbornly contrary offspring. Since he always says and does the opposite of what Mommy and Daddy Triceratops—identified, in McBeth’s simple cartoon illustrations, respectively by eyelashes and pearls and a necktie—he’s earned the titular moniker. When urged to eat, say, Triceratopposite spits out his dinner leaves; at the hot springs after refusing to get in, he recklessly splashes and dives off rocks until he’s forcibly marched home. That night, as his exhausted parents sleep, he wanders outside and meets a toothy, exaggeratedly humongous T. rex child. A monosyllabic exchange ensues: “Big!” “Little!” “Mean!” “Nice!” “Leave?” “Stay!” “Play?” “Fight!” Out rush the triceraparents, just in time to be horrified by the sight of their offspring engaged in a bit of playful roughhousing. Their shouted “Enemy!” gets the predictable rejoinder “Friend!” and a cozy closing predator-prey hug. “Maybe, in this case, the opposite was better after all.” But a different message is conveyed by the following and final line, in which a hopeful “The Beginning” is crossed out and replaced by an ominous “The End.” If this is an attempt at Jon Klassen–style ambiguity, the illustrator misses it, and readers will too. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 83% of actual size.)

Timeless of premise but not exactly fresh and, at best, inept of execution. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-13489-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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Laugh-out-loud fun for all.

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Hilarious complications ensue when Nanette’s mom gives her the responsibility of buying the family baguette.

She sets out on her errand and encounters lots of distractions along the way as she meets and greets Georgette, Suzette, Bret with his clarinet, Mr. Barnett and his pet, Antoinette. But she remembers her mission and buys the baguette from Juliette the baker. And oh, it is a wonderful large, warm, aromatic hunk of bread, so Nanette takes a taste and another and more—until there is nothing left. Maybe she needs to take a jet to Tibet. But she faces her mother and finds understanding, tenderness, and a surprise twist. Willems is at his outlandish best with line after line of “ettes” and their absurd rhymes, all the while demonstrating a deep knowledge of children’s thought processes. Nanette and the entire cast of characters are bright green frogs with very large round eyes, heavily outlined in black and clad in eccentric clothing and hats. A highly detailed village constructed of cardboard forms the background for Nanette’s adventures. Her every emotion explodes all over the pages in wildly expressive, colorful vignettes and an eye-popping use of emphatic display type. The endpapers follow the fate of the baguette from fresh and whole to chewed and gone. Demands for encores will surely follow.

Laugh-out-loud fun for all. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4847-2286-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2016

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A humorous, meandering approach to a life lesson about leading every day with benevolence.


To the consternation of the other six days of the week, Sunday quits in protest, tired of being unappreciated for her consistent delivery of a weekly “beautiful free day.”

Sunday’s abrupt decision prompts the others to look for her replacement with an advertisement inviting auditions before the remaining six days. The competition quickly grows increasingly fierce as ideas are broached for DogDay, Big-BurpDay, PieDay, Band-AidDay, and, ridiculously, FirepoleSlidingIntoPoolsOfCottonCandyDay. Amid all this boisterous and frenzied rivalry, a little girl approaches the misunderstood Sunday with a small plant to say thank you and to suggest “simply a nice day. A day when people can show more kindness to each other.” The child’s humble gratitude is enough for Sunday to return to her important weekly position and to prompt all the days to value kindness as the key to each day’s possibilities. Bright art captures the mania, with cotton-candy hues representing each of the anthropomorphic days. Though undeniably comical as it unfolds in busy cartoon illustrations and speech balloons, the drawn-out, nonsensical, and unexpected course the narrative takes may be a stretch for youngsters who cannot always distinguish among days. Kindness as the ingredient for achieving a harmonious week is nevertheless a valuable message, however circuitously expressed. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 50% of actual size.)

A humorous, meandering approach to a life lesson about leading every day with benevolence. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-525-55424-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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