Mannered, yes. Containing advice on manners? Not so much.

GOLDILOCKS FOR DINNER

A FUNNY BOOK ABOUT MANNERS

Mind your manners? Don’t mind if they do!

Having lost the ickiness contest in Who’s the Grossest of Them All? (2016), buddies Troll and Goblin have now abandoned entirely any desire to be disgusting themselves. Instead, they’ve turned their attention toward children, those “wretched” little beasts that they consider uniformly rude. Concocting a plan, the two decide to find the rudest child and have it for dinner. Turns out, this is more difficult than planned. Mistress Mary is just contrary, and Simple Simon merely gross. However, when the two hear about Goldilocks, they know they’ve found the kid they want for dinner. The twist at the end is that old chestnut in which the two seeming baddies want to have Goldilocks over for dinner so they can teach her good table manners (never mind that of all her breaches of etiquette, Goldilocks’ behavior during mealtime is hardly her greatest sin). The cartoony illustrations are rendered in ink with digital colors, and the incorporation of Sunday-funnies–style Ben Day dots into them is certainly striking. Caregivers misled by the subtitle may expect more manners tutelage than the book delivers. As a story of baddies thwarted, but not for the reasons you’d expect, it’s passable. As a manners book, don’t expect the Emily Post seal of approval. All humans in the story are pictured as white.

Mannered, yes. Containing advice on manners? Not so much. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-55235-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life.

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BE YOU!

An inspirational picture book offers life advice for readers who want to be themselves.

Replete with sparkling, often quirky illustrations of children living their best lives, this book is a gorgeous guidebook for those seeking encouragement while encountering life’s challenges. The children featured—a racially diverse group ranging from infants to preschoolers—cheerfully navigate the various injunctions that flow through the text: “Be curious.…Be adventurous.…Be persistent.…Be kind.” What is remarkable about the book is that even though the instructions and the brief sentences explaining them are at times vague, the illustrations expand on them in ways readers will find endearing and uplifting. Those depicting painful or challenging moments are especially effective. The “Be persistent” double-page spread shows a child in a boat on stormy seas; it’s rich with deep blues as it emphasizes the energy of wind and rain and struggle in the face of challenge. Together with the accompanying repeated phrase “Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop,” this spread arrests readers. By contrast, the “Be kind. Be understanding” spread simply presents two children’s faces, one cast in blue and the other in gold, but the empathy that Reynolds conveys is similarly captivating. While there is no plot to pull readers through the pages, the book provides rich fodder for caregivers to use as teachable moments, both informally and in classroom settings.

Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-57231-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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