Pair with a book that will teach children alternatives to unleashing their own inner Fluffys.


Unlike Molly Bang’s Sophie, when Claire gets angry, there are some significant consequences.

The day starts out like any other, with Claire and her stuffed white rabbit, Fluffy, looking forward to many things. But when a “tiny button” pops off Fluffy’s outfit (which matches Claire’s), then the box of Super Choco Puffs cereal is found to be empty, then all the neighborhood kids want to swing at the same time as Claire…readers can see Claire’s gaze turn a little more manic, her teeth and hands clench a little tighter with each new frustration. The last straw, though, is when it starts to pour just as it’s finally Claire and Fluffy’s turn on the swing. Her anger rages so wildly that Fluffy grows to be 50 feet tall and goes on a rampage against all that has frustrated Claire: the tiny-button factory, the cereal delivery trucks, the beloved park swingset. But just as soon as this last is smooshed to bits, Claire regains control and is remorseful. Her friends at the park are understanding and tell her “We’ve all been there before.” Claire, Fluffy in tow, puts all back to rights. Boldt’s digital illustrations keep the focus on Claire’s emotions, her expressiveness leaving no doubt in readers’ minds as to how she is feeling. The fact that Fluffy’s face never changes in the slightest adds welcome humor. Claire has straight, black hair, brown eyes, and pale skin; other kids at the park are diverse.

Pair with a book that will teach children alternatives to unleashing their own inner Fluffys. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-4887-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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As insubstantial as hot air.


A diverse cast of children first makes a fleet of hot air balloons and then takes to the sky in them.

Lifestyle maven Gaines uses this activity as a platform to celebrate diversity in learning and working styles. Some people like to work together; others prefer a solo process. Some take pains to plan extensively; others know exactly what they want and jump right in. Some apply science; others demonstrate artistic prowess. But “see how beautiful it can be when / our differences share the same sky?” Double-page spreads leading up to this moment of liftoff are laid out such that rhyming abcb quatrains typically contain one or two opposing concepts: “Some of us are teachers / and share what we know. / But all of us are learners. / Together is how we grow!” In the accompanying illustration, a bespectacled, Asian-presenting child at a blackboard lectures the other children on “balloon safety.” Gaines’ text has the ring of sincerity, but the sentiment is hardly an original one, and her verse frequently sacrifices scansion for rhyme. Sometimes it abandons both: “We may not look / or work or think the same, / but we all have an / important part to play.” Swaney’s delicate, pastel-hued illustrations do little to expand on the text, but they are pretty. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11.2-by-18.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 70.7% of actual size.)

As insubstantial as hot air. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4003-1423-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tommy Nelson

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2021

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A sweet gift to praise spirited individuality, this choice encourages readers to dream big. Let those sparkles fly! (Picture...


Displaying his distinctive voice and images, Reynolds celebrates the joys and challenges of being a creative spirit.

“I am a HAPPY DREAMER,” cheers a thin, spiky-haired white boy as he flies skyward, streaming yellow swirls of sparkles. This little “dreamer maximus” piles on the energy with colors and noise and the joy-filled exuberance he has for life. “Wish you could HEAR inside my head / TRUMPETY, ZIGZAG JAZZ!” With clear honesty, he shares that the world tells him to be quiet, to focus and pay attention. Like a roller-coaster ride, Reynolds’ text and illustrations capture the energetic side of creativity and the gloom of cleaning up the messes that come with it while providing a wide vocabulary to describe emotional brilliance and resilience. The protagonist makes no apologies for expressing his feelings and embracing his distinct view of the world. This makes him happy. The book finishes with a question to readers: “What kind of dreamer are you?” Hinging outward, the double-page spread opens to four panels, each with a dozen examples of multiracial children being happy and being dreamers, showing inspiring possibilities for exploration. The best way, of course, is to “just BE YOU.”

A sweet gift to praise spirited individuality, this choice encourages readers to dream big. Let those sparkles fly! (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-86501-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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