A fine treatment of a tried-and-true theme. (Picture book 4-6)


A little boy, bereft over moving, makes strides toward feeling at home in his new neighborhood.

With uniform houses and patches of lawn, the community depicted evokes Levittown. Karas’ mixed-media art employs a bleak, gray palette for the setting, befitting the boy’s forlorn feelings. His mother suggests, “Maybe you’d like to take a little walk down the block. You might even meet someone.” Though unenthusiastic, he “slowly shuffle[s] away.” When he stops and (rather inexplicably) calls out, “Neville,” another child hears him, and then another and another, and they all join in. But who is Neville? “Is he new?” one child asks. “Are you a friend of his?” adds another. “His best friend, I guess,” he responds. The children wander off, leaving the boy hopeful after making this foray into joining their community. His homecoming is alight with colors that Karas slowly incorporated into prior illustrations, and when his mother tucks him in, she whispers, “Good night, Neville…” Readers then can hope that when the neighborhood children discover that the boy himself is Neville, they will embrace him as surely as they did his search.

A fine treatment of a tried-and-true theme. (Picture book 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-375-86765-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2011

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Uncomplicated and worthwhile for any age.


Parr focuses his simplistic childlike art and declarative sentences on gratitude for the pleasures and wonders of a child’s everyday life.

Using images of both kids and animals, each colorful scene in bold primary colors declaims a reason to be thankful. “I am thankful for my hair because it makes me unique” shows a yellow-faced child with a wild purple coiffure, indicating self-esteem. An elephant with large pink ears happily exclaims, “I am thankful for my ears because they let me hear words like ‘I love you.’ ” Humor is interjected with, “I am thankful for underwear because I like to wear it on my head.” (Parents will hope that it is clean, but potty-humor–loving children probably won’t care.) Children are encouraged to be thankful for feet, music, school, vacations and the library, “because it is filled with endless adventures,” among other things. The book’s cheery, upbeat message is clearly meant to inspire optimistic gratitude; Parr exhorts children to “remember some [things to be thankful for] every day.”

Uncomplicated and worthwhile for any age. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-316-18101-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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Though books on childhood anxiety are numerous, it is worth making space on the shelf for this one.


Brock may be dressed like a superhero, but he sure doesn’t feel like one, as social anxieties threaten to rain on his fun    .

Juan’s superhero-themed birthday party is about to start, but Brock is feeling trepidatious about attending without his brother as his trusty sidekick. His costume does not fit quite right, and he is already running late, and soon Brock is “way past worried.” When he arrives at the party he takes some deep breaths but is still afraid to jump in and so hides behind a tree. Hiding in the same tree is the similarly nervous Nelly, who’s new to the neighborhood. Through the simple act of sharing their anxieties, the children find themselves ready to face their fears. This true-to-life depiction of social anxiety is simply but effectively rendered. While both Nelly and Brock try taking deep breathes to calm their anxieties without success, it is the act of sharing their worries in a safe space with someone who understands that ultimately brings relief. With similar themes, Brock’s tale would make a lovely companion for Tom Percival’s Ruby Finds a Worry (2019) on social-emotional–development bookshelves. Brock is depicted with black hair and tan skin, Nelly presents White, and peers at the party appear fairly diverse.

Though books on childhood anxiety are numerous, it is worth making space on the shelf for this one. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8075-8686-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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