Ultimately, the book succeeds in exhausting readers, but whether from adventure or from terror rests with the beholder....


When a consolation prize at an amusement park lands in the hands of little Lulu, her imagination—along with everything in sight—goes wild.

This book is a visual thrill ride, all vivid colors, lively movement and comic imagery. At an amusement-park booth called the Wizardly World of Wonder, toddler Lulu ends up with a magic wand when her dad fails to win her desired prize, Priscilla, the Fairy Piglet. By the time the wizard realizes his real wand is missing, Lulu has created a balloon tornado, launched the merry-go-round creatures into the air and woken the Screamin’ Dragon roller coaster. When the Octo-Beast begins to shoot laser beams out of its eyes, Lulu’s toddler antics seem more sinister than silly. Richards, author of  Jungle Gym Jitters (2004), expertly juggles the over-the-top madness, repeating images and swirls in the rounded balloon figures, the octopus legs, the roller-coaster track and popped-open eyes. The concern lies with the text. It seems to be simply an interpretation of the images, with little to connect the described mayhem with Lulu’s magic wishes. Does her active imagination simply in vision or actually result in her loved ones being eaten by dinosaurs and giant monkeys? Stronger narrative could have launched the visuals even farther.

Ultimately, the book succeeds in exhausting readers, but whether from adventure or from terror rests with the beholder. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 24, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8027-2248-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: Feb. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.


All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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A fresh take on an enduring theme.


When Irie tells her momma she hates her big poofy hair, her momma explains that everything about Irie was perfectly custom made.

Irie wants her hair to swing and bounce like the “pretty hair” that “everyone else” has. But Momma tells her that she didn’t make Irie to be like everyone else. “I made you to be you.” Momma explains that when she was expecting Irie, she talked to God and made special requests. Out of all the skin tones in the world, Momma chose her favorite for Irie. The same for her hair type, her sparkling eyes, her kissable nose, and her bright smile. Momma also chose a good heart for Irie, and when she was born, she was perfect, and as she grew, she was kind. When Momma tells her “you are all of my favorite things,” Irie runs to the mirror and sees herself with new eyes: a “most perfect me.” This sweet, imaginative tale highlights the importance of parental love in boosting children’s self-esteem and will be a touching read-aloud for families who have struggled with issues of fitting in. The story is a challenging one to illustrate; the full-color digital art is warm with soft shades of natural-looking color but struggles to create engaging scenes to accompany Momma’s explanation of her conversation with God. The multiple spreads showing Irie and Momma flying through the atmosphere among clouds, stars, and hearts become a bit monotonous and lack depth of expression. Characters are Black. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A fresh take on an enduring theme. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-42694-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2022

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