In this moderately effective "jump" story, a lad anxiously questions a distracted-looking, green-skinned goblin as he watches it ransack his house: " 'Why have you got such a big fat bum?' 'Squishing things and squashing things . . .' 'Why have you got such a grumbly tum?' 'Hungry! Hungry! Hungry!' ” The arced lines of text are printed in dialogue balloons, and Hess views the domestic destruction from canted or rolling perspectives in which food, garbage, shampoo, and small toys fly as the goblin shambles along in a cloud of spattered paint or ink. At last the interloper winds up in the lad's bedroom: " ‘What have you come for?' 'YOU!' ” But, as lifting the concluding gatefold reveals, the goblin will accept a jelly bean instead. "A Dark, Dark Room" it's not, but read aloud with the proper gusto it should elicit a few belly laughs, as well as a mild climactic jolt, and the art is unusually fascinating. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-56145-214-6

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2001

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An honest look at motherhood in the contemporary era and a sweet tribute to the bond between mother and child.


Grammy-winning, multiplatinum singer/songwriter Rowland teams up with California teacher McKay to celebrate busy moms.

This picture book highlights a mother’s frequent longing to be with her child when life’s demands pull them apart. The story takes us through a busy Black mom’s week: She goes to work (at a construction site where she appears to be an engineer), works from home on her son’s sick day, takes him to a museum, and shares domestic duties with her Black male partner, who is a nurse. She encounters many bumps in the road that will be familiar to working parents. Each day, she gently reassures her son with a lyrical refrain: “Always with you, / Always with me, / Mommy and child / Together we’ll be.” This tender story, narrated in the voice of a mother addressing her child, pulls at the heartstrings. Liem’s digital artwork uses a warm palette and has a calming quality. The characters’ body language and heartfelt facial expressions are spot-on. This book will resonate with any mom who knows the heartache of having to say goodbye to their child or who has faced the teary-eyed frustration of a youngster experiencing separation anxiety. Young readers, on the other hand, will find solace in the reassuring narrative. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An honest look at motherhood in the contemporary era and a sweet tribute to the bond between mother and child. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-46551-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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A bit message-heavy and twee, but feline fans will show up.


From the Adventures in Fosterland series

Spinach wants to fit in with the other kittens (and secretly dreams of being a superkitty).

Because of a malformed chest, Spinach can’t play like the other kittens in the shelter. She longs for a blue card on her kennel, which means a cat is bound for Foreverland. Instead, she’s whisked away to a strange room full of humans in white coats, where she learns that she has a condition called pectus excavatum. When she awakens after an operation, she finds a plate on her chest and believes it gives her superpowers. She’s moved to Fosterland, where she meets another kitten called Chickpea, who looks up to Spinach. The duo escape their enclosure, avoid a giant human, and discover a group of kittens trapped in a strange machine. Can they rescue the kittens? And what happens when Spinach’s chest plate vanishes? The second in cat rescuer and internet personality Shaw’s series is mostly unconnected to the first. The cats use words and concepts they could not have encountered in their lives while misunderstanding others for effect and plot (Spinach knows what a lasso and ice cubes are but thinks that a cat carrier is a hovercraft). The can-do message is repeated to the point of didacticism. Experienced chapter readers may be put off. Upping the sweetness quotient, Johnson’s adorable, black-and-white full-page and spot illustrations are a plus.

A bit message-heavy and twee, but feline fans will show up. (information about the real Spinach and Chickpea) (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66590-125-3

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: tomorrow

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