Another offering for the emotional intelligence shelf.

BERTA'S BOXES

From the Inglés series

What should a child do with strong feelings?

Years ago, Molly Bang modeled a child finding peace in nature in When Sophie Gets Angry—Really, Really Angry… (1999), but some readers have complained that Sophie was running away from her problems. More recently, in The Color Monster (2018), Anna Llenas recommended sorting emotions into jars of different colors. Italian bookseller Alvisi’s protagonist Berta follows that latter path. She tidies up regularly, sorts her toys by color, and uses red, yellow, green, and blue boxes to contain her strong feelings. Grown-ups admire her good behavior. But that technique is not enough when someone at school calls her a “red gloop monstreepy” and adults in her life are too distracted to offer sympathy. She tries to calm down with a puzzle, but a missing piece is the last straw. In a frenzy, she mixes all her puzzles together into one—creating a terrible and wonderful monstreepy of her own. In what may be something of a leap for a young audience, she changes her ways, loosens up, and learns to talk about her feelings instead of putting them in boxes. When she’s upset, she can draw, trace, cut, and glue some “magnificent monsters.” Making art helps. Graux depicts Berta and her parents as White, but there are some background characters of color; her color choices support Berta’s changing moods. Ross’ translation is smooth, but it’s unclear whether that is from the original Italian or the Madrid-based publisher’s co-publishing Spanish edition, Las cajas de Berta.

Another offering for the emotional intelligence shelf. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-84-18133-19-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: nubeOCHO

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Slight and contrived.

LITTLE TACO TRUCK

A little orange food truck parks in the same place every day, bringing tacos to hungry construction workers—till one morning, a falafel truck takes his spot.

Miss Falafel then brings by more of her friends, crowding out the taco truck. Little Taco Truck whines and cries, but after four days of being shut out by the bigger trucks, he finally takes the initiative. He spends the night in his former parking space, defending his territory when the other trucks arrive. The rest immediately apologize, and after some creative maneuvering, everyone fits—even the newly arrived noodle truck. Valentine’s naïve call for cooperation glosses over the very real problem of urban gentrification represented by the flood of bigger and better-equipped trucks taking over the neighborhood. When the taco truck is the only game in town, the food line consists of hard-hatted construction workers. Then, as falafel, arepa, gelato, hot dog, and gumbo trucks set up shop, professionals and hipsters start showing up. (All the customers are depicted as animals.) The author also inadvertently equates tacos with a lack of sophistication. “ ‘Hola, Miss Fal…Fal…’ Little Taco Truck tried to sound out the words on the side of the other truck.” Sadly, the truck sells Americanized crisp-shelled tacos. Even the glossary ignores the culinary versatility and cultural authenticity of the soft taco with this oversimplified and inaccurate definition: “A crispy Mexican corn pancake folded or rolled around a filling of meat, beans, and cheese.”

Slight and contrived. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6585-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This seemingly simple tale packs a satisfying emotional punch. Scarily good! (Picture book. 4-7)

LOVE MONSTER

Monster lives in Cutesville, where he feels his googly eyes make him unlovable, especially compared to all the “cute, fluffy” kittens, puppies and bunnies. He goes off to find someone who will appreciate him just the way he is…with funny and heartwarming results.

A red, scraggly, pointy-eared, arm-dragging monster with a pronounced underbite clutches his monster doll to one side of his chest, exposing a purplish blue heart on the other. His oversized eyes express his loneliness. Bright could not have created a more sympathetic and adorable character. But she further impresses with the telling of this poor chap’s journey. Since Monster is not the “moping-around sort,” he strikes out on his own to find someone who will love him. “He look[s] high” from on top of a hill, and “he look[s] low” at the bottom of the same hill. The page turn reveals a rolling (and labeled) tumbleweed on a flat stretch. Here “he look[s] middle-ish.” Careful pacing combines with dramatic design and the deadpan text to make this sad search a very funny one. When it gets dark and scary, he decides to head back home. A bus’s headlights shine on his bent figure. All seems hopeless—until the next page surprises, with a smiling, orange monster with long eyelashes and a pink heart on her chest depicted at the wheel. And “in the blink of a googly eye / everything change[s].”

This seemingly simple tale packs a satisfying emotional punch. Scarily good! (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 31, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-374-34646-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

more