Just what the doctor ordered for storytime fare.

DOCTOR NICE

A going-to-the-doctor picture book with a playful twist.

While some picture books about doctor visits focus on common fears about shots and such, this one instead immediately assuages such anxieties with its title and then presents a medical office visit as a comforting time. The diminutive Dr. Nice is the story’s hero, dispensing advice and care from behind a medical mask and voluminous scrubs. The grateful patients are all anthropomorphic animals who present with myriad ailments, ranging from a crow with a broken foot (injured while skiing) to a pig with a sore nose (diagnosis: frostbite). All the animals’ problems seem to be provoked by the wintry weather, and the end of the story reveals that Dr. Nice is a child making the best of indoor playtime. The message seems to be that the best antidote to ward off a case of boredom is a healthy imagination. Throughout, Gorbachev’s watercolor-and-ink illustrations infuse the simple tale with humor by emphasizing the size differential between Dr. Nice and some of his patients and by depicting the animals’ various mishaps as they describe them. Finally, closing pictures move from imagination to reality to show all the animals as stuffed toys and invite reflection back on the story as a whole.

Just what the doctor ordered for storytime fare. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3203-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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A simple but important lesson about anxiety that will speak to young worrywarts everywhere.

THERE'S A UNICORN IN YOUR BOOK

From the Who's in Your Book? series

A troubled little unicorn needs serious help.

There are “worry gremlins” all around threatening his peace of mind. Kids will feel engaged and empowered as they follow the directions to get these gremlins out of the picture. Young readers are told to “wiggle your fingers to make some magic dust,” tickle the unicorn, tell him a joke, and shake the book. None of these tactics quite do the trick, since the gremlins keep coming back and Unicorn’s horn gets stuck in the page. A gentler shake frees the horn, and the text offers another solution, one that kids can take to heart—“The best way to get rid of a worry is to tell someone about it.” Luckily, Unicorn’s friend Monster, an innocuous blue being with tiny pink horns, is there for Unicorn to whisper his worries to. Readers are also urged to whisper something encouraging to Unicorn, who thereafter feels much better. Fears allayed, he and his friends indulge in an exuberant celebration. Kids can join in as they happily sing together against a double-page spread of stars, rays of light, fairies, and disappearing gremlins. The digital illustrations are humorous, and varying typefaces and energetic page reveals add to the fun. This entry in the Who’s in Your Book? series follows the same pattern as the others and includes characters from the previous books.

A simple but important lesson about anxiety that will speak to young worrywarts everywhere. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-43476-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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A visual feast for families interested in seeing the Native world through small, kind deeds.

WHEN WE ARE KIND

Distinctive illustrations amplify a pointed moral lesson in this Native picture book for kids.

An intergenerational Native family sits in a drum circle on the cover, suggesting the importance of cooperation and community that’s elucidated in the pages that follow. What does it mean to be kind to your family, your elders, your environment, and yourself? In simple, repetitive language, Smith (who is of mixed Cree, Lakota, and Scottish heritage) explores how our behaving with generosity toward others makes us feel happy in return. By helping with laundry, walking the family dog, sharing with friends, and taking food to our elders, we learn that the gift of kindness involves giving and receiving. The first half of the book is constructed entirely on the phrase “I am kind when,” while the second half uses “I feel.” Strung together, the simple statements have the resonance of affirmations and establish a clear chain of connectedness, but there is no story arc in the conventional sense. What the book lacks in plot, it makes up for with its illustrations. Drawing on her mother’s Diné traditions, Neidhardt prominently features Navajo hair buns, moccasins, and baskets; a panoply of Indigenous characters—including one child who uses a wheelchair—is featured in rich detail. A French edition, translated by Rachel Martinez, publishes simultaneously.

A visual feast for families interested in seeing the Native world through small, kind deeds. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4598-2522-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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