Skip this in favor of some chicken soup.


The guitarist and organist for the Zac Brown Band outlines what to do and not do when you are feeling sick.

The advice runs the gamut from the humorous to truisms and upbeat platitudes, with a fair amount of silliness that has nothing to do with illness. Yes, chicken soup is meant for your mouth, not to be dumped on your head, and it’s possible purple elephants might just eat all your food if you invite them for lunch. But even wading through the foolishness, there’s not much to this. Simply saying something, for instance, doesn’t make it so: “Don’t be afraid of needles or your nurse. / She’s not a wicked witch with a broom and curse.” The author recommends two things to start feeling better and get rid of the germs: a silly face that involves sticking your fingers in your mouth (a sure way to share the illness) and a rhyming Sickness Song. But no matter what doctors or nurses do, no matter what silly faces one makes or rhyme one recites, there are some illnesses that won’t get better, and Bowles’ closing overlooks this fact: “Whatever you do, you must stay strong. / You might be sick now but you won’t be for long. / You’ll be running and swimming and swinging / And playing and dancing and you’ll feel just fine. / Don’t you worry one little bit, it’s just a matter of time.” The seemingly digital illustrations are brightly colored and show a wide array of diversity in gender and race and ability.

Skip this in favor of some chicken soup. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-55286-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2016

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.


Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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A cozy story that will transport readers to faraway places.


All gifts are perfect when they come from the heart.

Rabbit goes on a “journey through a green and grand forest” in order to get a gift for his nana even though it is “not even a major hare holiday.” He travels very far in search of the perfect gift and encounters many new friends whom he asks for help. Each of them proffers Rabbit something they can easily make or acquire: The moon offers a “crescent smile,” a whale proposes a glass of water, and so on. Ultimately, Rabbit finds the perfect gift for Nana all on his own, and his nana absolutely adores it. Although the story is a bit predictable, it is amusing—readers will laugh at the anthropomorphic volcano’s explosion and Rabbit’s exhaustion from his journey, among other chucklesome scenes. Smith’s gesso, oil, and cold wax illustrations are exquisite and almost ethereal. The friendly, many-eyed creature referred to as a “stickler” is at once haunting and intriguing. The moon is Tim Burton–esque and seems to glow and pop off the page. Pleased with his choice of gift, Rabbit has the moon’s smile on his face. The predominance of full-bleed double-page spreads accentuates Rabbit’s long quest. The different font sizes, styles, and colors will aid emerging readers with diction when reading aloud but might prove difficult for those with dyslexia. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A cozy story that will transport readers to faraway places. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-43033-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House Studio

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2022

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