A fun-filled take on a familiar childhood milestone.


Bonnie O’Boy’s dream comes true when she gets a bike and then must learn an important part of riding it: how to stop.

The title of Proimos’ novel for teens, 12 Things to Do Before You Crash and Burn (2011), is only tangentially related to this picture-book offering, in which Bonnie crashes after failing to heed Mother’s warning: “You can’t just go ride all willy-nilly.” Willy-nilly she goes, and ensuing spreads imaginatively depict her riding over bridges, mountains, elephants and more, and she simply cannot stop. Although it may strike some as odd that Bonnie needs no practice (let alone training wheels) to balance, they’ll enjoy connecting the aforementioned fantasy scenes of the bridge, mountains, elephant, etc., with toys and other backyard landmarks. Luckily, she only crashes into her little brother Charley’s building project. Her parents comfort her, her father helpfully saying, “Here are the brakes,” and in a pictorial nod to safety, Bonnie dons a helmet. Meanwhile, Charley rebuilds his play farm, and Bonnie again sets off around the yard. Throughout, Wright’s acrylic-and-ink illustrations employ a colorful, naive style to capture the exuberance of Bonnie’s first bike ride, while promising that although this initial taste of two-wheeled freedom may be the “best,” there are many joyful rides in store—perhaps astride her next secret wish: a pony.

A fun-filled take on a familiar childhood milestone. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3850-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2012

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Take strength from the dreamers before you and follow your dreams. Or maybe just roll the dice.


Is it a book about aspirations or the backstory for the board game?

Chickapig is defined as “an animal hybrid that is half-chicken and half-pig” and is depicted in yellow, two-legged chick shape with pink pig snout and ears. Young Joe Chickapig lives on a farm that was his grandfather’s dream, but it’s getting Joe down. He dreams of adventure but needs the “courage to follow his heart. / But how could he do it? How could he start?” In a bedtime story, Joe’s mother shares the influential characters that helped Joe’s sailor grandfather “follow his heart against the tide.” It seems that “Grandpa had heard a story told / Of a great big bear who broke the mold. / The bear was tired of striking fear”—so he became a forest doctor and a friend to all. And the bear’s inspiration? “A mouse who went to space.” The mouse, in turn, found hope in a “fierce young dragon” who joined a rock band. And coming full circle, the dragon found courage from a Chickapig warrior who “tired of shields and swords to wield” and established a farm. Chickapig game fans will appreciate this fanciful rhyming tale illustrated in attention-grabbing colors, but readers coming to it cold will note a distinct absence of plot. Mouse and dragon present female; all others are male.

Take strength from the dreamers before you and follow your dreams. Or maybe just roll the dice. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7944-4452-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Printers Row

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.


Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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