Tots will find Fiona a welcome nursery presence.


A photogenic hippo models emotions and behaviors in an undeniably winning board book.

Born six weeks prematurely, Cincinnati Zoo resident Fiona, the baby hippo, required much extra nursing and attention from her human caregivers. Fiona’s growth and progress were meticulously documented, blogged, and reblogged, making her an internet sensation in the process. As fate would have it, there are few things cuter than an underweight baby hippo, making Fiona an ideal candidate for a children’s board book. Fiona’s abundance of personality makes her well-suited to model a range of basic emotions; anthropomorphizing her various grins, yawns, peeks, and bellows comes naturally and easily. The success or failure of this type of book is a direct function of how unambiguously the photographs suggest the feelings indicated by the text. To that end, author and pediatrician Hutton has chosen an exemplary selection of pictures to accompany his simple rhymes: “Hippo happy. / Sometimes sad. // Often silly. / Uh-oh, mad.” Each page offers one photo and one clear concept that should resonate with the board-book audience, providing children with vocabulary for their own emotions and expressions. The steady meter and smooth rhyme scheme are easily retained; with repeated readings children will no doubt anticipate and be able to name familiar states such as “scared,” “proud,” “sleepy,” “shy,” and “hungry,” to name a few.

Tots will find Fiona a welcome nursery presence. (Board book. 6 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-936669-65-3

Page Count: 14

Publisher: blue manatee press

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Telgemeier has created an utterly charming graphic memoir of tooth trauma, first crushes and fickle friends, sweetly reminiscent of Judy Blume’s work. One night, Raina trips and falls after a Girl Scout meeting, knocking out her two front teeth. This leads to years of painful surgeries, braces, agonizing root canals and other oral atrocities. Her friends offer little solace through this trying ordeal, spending more of their time teasing than comforting her. After years of these girls’ constant belittling, Raina branches out and finds her own voice and a new group of friends. Young girls will relate to her story, and her friend-angst is palpable. Readers should not overlook this seemingly simply drawn work; the strong writing and emotionally expressive characters add an unexpected layer of depth. As an afterword, the author includes a photo of her smiling, showing off the results of all of the years of pain she endured. Irresistible, funny and touching—a must read for all teenage girls, whether en-braced or not. (Graphic memoir. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-13205-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Bantam Discovery

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2010

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A likable journey that is sensitive to the triumphs and agonies of being a 13-year-old girl.


From the Friends series , Vol. 3

Shannon just wants to get through eighth grade in one piece—while feeling like her own worst enemy.

In this third entry in popular author for young people Hale’s graphic memoir series, the young, sensitive overachiever is crushed by expectations: to be cool but loyal to her tightknit and dramatic friend group, a top student but not a nerd, attractive to boys but true to her ideals. As events in Shannon’s life begin to overwhelm her, she works toward finding a way to love and understand herself, follow her passions for theater and writing, and ignore her cruel inner voice. Capturing the visceral embarrassments of middle school in 1987 Salt Lake City, Shannon’s emotions are vivid and often excruciating. In particular, the social norms of a church-oriented family are clearly addressed, and religion is shown as being both a comfort and a struggle for Shannon. While the text is sometimes in danger of spelling things out a little too neatly and obviously, the emotional honesty and sincerity drawn from Hale’s own life win out. Pham’s artwork is vibrant and appealing, with stylistic changes for Shannon’s imaginings and the leeching out of color and use of creative panel structures as her anxiety and depression worsen.

A likable journey that is sensitive to the triumphs and agonies of being a 13-year-old girl. (author's note, gallery) (Graphic memoir. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-31755-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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