A welcome addition to the emotional-literacy shelf.

THE WORRYSAURUS

Little Worrysaurus has a big day planned, but will his fears get in the way of his perfect picnic?

After going through his morning routine, Worrysaurus packs up for the day and heads out into the world with nothing but blue skies and his planned picnic on his mind. However, it doesn’t take long for worry and doubt to start to set in. Did he bring enough food? Enough to drink? When he runs across a lizard who is sure it is going to rain, a “little worry butterfly” begins to flutter in Worrysaurus’ stomach. He’s not prepared for rain. As the worry butterfly flaps harder, he remembers something his mommy told him: “Don’t you worry now, my lovely, / you MUST try not to fret. / If it’s not a happy ending, / then it hasn’t ended yet.” Feeling better, Worrysaurus goes through his bag of “happy things” and is able to enjoy the rest of his day. This sweet title will help little human worrysauruses feel as though they are not alone, and it also offers coping tools for when fear and doubt start to take over. Chatterton’s illustrations depict an unthreatening pink theropod with an oversized head (and rather distractingly large nostrils) and effectively convey emotion through color: Happy moments are rendered in bright colors while fearful ones have darker spreads. Easy rhymes with good meter make this fun to read aloud. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 36% of actual size.)

A welcome addition to the emotional-literacy shelf. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-63408-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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Exciting artwork paired with disappointingly dull text.

KINDNESS GROWS

Rhyming verses about kindness using a consistent metaphor of widening cracks versus blooming plants are amplified by cutouts on each page.

The art and layout are spectacular, from the cover through the double-page spreads near the end. Racially diverse toddlers are shown engaging in various moods and behaviors, some of which create unhappiness and some of which lead to friendship and happiness. Every page’s color palette and composition perfectly complement the narrative. The initial verso shows two children in aggressive stances, backgrounded by a dark, partly moonlit sky. Between them is a slender, crooked cutout. The large-type text reads: “It all / starts / with a / crack / that we can hardly see. / It happens when we shout / or if we disagree.” The recto shows two children in sunlight, with one offering a pretty leaf to the other, and the rhyme addresses the good that grows from kindness. In this image, the crooked die cut forms the trunk of a tiny sapling. Until the final double-page spreads, the art follows this clever setup: dark deeds and a crack on the left, and good deeds and a growing tree on the right. Unfortunately, the text is far from the equal of the art: It is banal and preachy, and it does not even scan well without some effort on the part of whomever is reading it. Still, the youngest children will solemnly agree with the do’s and don’ts, and they may decide to memorize a page or two.

Exciting artwork paired with disappointingly dull text. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68010-229-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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Who ya gonna call? A different snowplow book.

SCOOPER AND DUMPER

Friends don’t let friends expire in snowdrifts.

Convoluted storytelling and confusing art turn a cute premise into a mishmash of a book. Scooper’s a front loader that works in the town salt yard, replenishing the snowplows that arrive. Dumper’s her best friend, more than happy to plow and salt the roads himself. When the big city calls in Dumper to help with a snow squall, he brushes off Scooper’s concerns. Yet slippery roads and a seven-vehicle pileup launch poor Dumper onto his side in a snowbank. Can Scooper overcome fears that she’s too slow and save the day? Following a plot as succinct as this should be a breeze, but the rhyming text obfuscates more than it clarifies. Lines such as, “Dumper’s here— / let’s rock ’n’ roll! / Big city’s callin’ for / some small-town soul” can prove impenetrable. The art of the book matches this confusion, with light-blue Dumper often hard to pick out among other, similarly colored vehicles, particularly in the snowstorm. Speech bubbles, as when the city calls for Scooper’s and Dumper’s help, lead to a great deal of visual confusion. Scooper is also featured sporting long eyelashes and a bow, lest anyone mistake the dithering, frightened truck as anything but female. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 16.8% of actual size.)

Who ya gonna call? A different snowplow book. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9268-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

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