With true fearlessness and finely honed skills, this talented duo has created a most entertaining hero.

KEL GILLIGAN'S DAREDEVIL STUNT SHOW

Preschoolers everywhere can relate to the steely bravery, sheer willpower and steady determination it often takes to surmount the herculean obstacles a day can bring.

Kel Gilligan is no ordinary boy. He is a daredevil. He is “the boy without fear.” He can do amazing things all by himself: eat broccoli, face “the Potty of Doom,” get dressed, keep busy while Mom “finishes her conversation… / UNINTERRUPTED!!,” take “a bath with one assistant,” and “go to bed without checking the room for monsters.” The pages are peppered with word bubbles bearing over-the-top declarations from Kel and equally humorous reactions from Kel’s family members. Grandma always claps, while the others exclaim in awed disbelief when the stunt is accomplished. Santat depicts these impressive feats with illustrations that have a retro comic-book look. Kel is portrayed most often with a manly face with an expressive brow. He talks tough and looks even tougher…except when his nerves are tested. Can he really get that shirt on? Will Mom ever get off the phone? Who knew going potty would take so long? Whether he is in underpants, in his caped stuntman outfit or bare-bottomed, young readers (and their grown-ups) cannot help but laugh out loud at the hilarious details of Kel’s silly adventures because they tackle them daily and know them too well.

With true fearlessness and finely honed skills, this talented duo has created a most entertaining hero. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0379-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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A simple story enhanced by its funny, gently ironic illustrations.

MY GOOD MORNING

A little girl diligently gets ready for her day but leaves lots of messes in her wake.

The unnamed girl has light brown skin and dark brown curls similar to her dad’s, and her mom is white. The characters in the digital illustrations have big, exaggerated eyes. The child narrates the text matter-of-factly in simple rhyming sentences: “Time to go potty. I can do this! / Mommy is there to make sure I don’t miss.” Each double-page spread presents a slightly different, humorous visual interpretation of the situation, and it’s in this juxtaposition that the book shines. The cat’s in the hamper, underwear and socks are on the floor, and the pink toilet paper is trailing all over. The two parents seem a little overwhelmed. As they both try to get the girl into her clothes, one arm escapes, and the dad is really sweating from exertion. She insists on tying her laces and buttoning her coat, and the illustrations show the exuberant but incomplete results. As the girl grabs her backpack, her apple rolls out, and Mommy has to grab it. At school, she hangs her coat up, but somehow it lands on the floor (her scarf is also awry), and observant viewers will notice that her shoelace is still untied. In her diverse classroom, she proudly announces: “But this time Daddy, I won’t cry”—and now readers can believe her: there’s nary a tear in sight.

A simple story enhanced by its funny, gently ironic illustrations. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-60537-342-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clavis

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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Positive, powerful, and affirming.

FRED GETS DRESSED

Deciding what to wear becomes an adventure for a small boy.

Fred likes to “[romp] through the house naked and wild and free.” His romping takes him into his parents’ bedroom closet, where Fred initially checks out Dad’s clothing. Thinking it would be fun to dress like Dad, Fred selects a shirt, tie, and shoes, but he struggles with them. Moving onto Mom’s side of the closet, Fred opts for a blouse, scarf, and shoes, all of which easily slip on. Dressed in Mom’s clothes and huge shoes, Fred explores her jewelry box and makeup drawer, adding a necklace to his ensemble, but his attempt to apply lipstick ends in a smear. When Mom and Dad see Fred in his chosen apparel, they smile, and soon Mom shows Fred how to apply makeup and style his hair while Dad and the dog join the fun. Rendered in strong, black outlines, simple shapes, and complementary pinks and greens, the memorable illustrations portray Fred as a rosy, free-spirited tot unabashedly streaking through the house as his parents calmly read. Fred’s unsuccessful experiment with Dad’s drab male wardrobe and subsequent exploration of Mom’s more exciting female attire, jewelry, and makeup are presented as an unremarkable occurrence for young Fred. The text-free close-up of Mom’s and Dad’s reactions to Fred in Mom’s clothing sends just the right message of parental acceptance, support, and love. All three have pale skin and straight hair, Fred’s and Dad’s darker than Mom’s.

Positive, powerful, and affirming. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-20064-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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