The fun shines through, although adult readers weary of metafiction related to books may opt out.


Dunlap’s picture-book debut starts on the jacket flap with a welcome and assurances that this is truly a no-nonsense title.

Tallec imagines the first-person narrator as a straight-laced, bow tie–wearing, bespectacled mouse; the rodent appears in the empty white space carrying a book and potted plant. As it reads quietly on recto, back facing the gutter, the head of a Word-Eating Flying Whale (identified in the very book the mouse is reading) enters stage left. The audience is encouraged to ignore this disturbance. When the mammal returns with a Glow-in-the-Dark Kung Fu Worm, the urge to follow tiny footprints across the now-charcoal pages proves irresistible to the beleaguered protagonist—if only to quell the excitement. The turning page reveals a psychedelic dance party, and all bets are off. Toe tapping and bottom shaking take over. The mouse justifies the title’s promise at the conclusion, pointing out that the book “was not fun for YOU. / I had a great time.” Tallec’s adroit caricatures and talent for building visual drama are a welcome pairing with the monologue voiced by the scholarly rodent. Will young listeners catch the humor in the mouse’s understated observation that the music has “plenty of notes and a fine, sturdy rhythm” while the orange, brown, green, and blue creatures bop with abandon?

The fun shines through, although adult readers weary of metafiction related to books may opt out. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 6, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-55061-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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Mixed-race children certainly deserve mirror books, but they also deserve excellent text and illustrations. This one misses...


This tan-skinned, freckle-faced narrator extols her own virtues while describing the challenges of being of mixed race.

Protagonist Lilly appears on the cover, and her voluminous curly, twirly hair fills the image. Throughout the rhyming narrative, accompanied by cartoonish digital illustrations, Lilly brags on her dark skin (that isn’t very), “frizzy, wild” hair, eyebrows, intellect, and more. Her five friends present black, Asian, white (one blonde, one redheaded), and brown (this last uses a wheelchair). This array smacks of tokenism, since the protagonist focuses only on self-promotion, leaving no room for the friends’ character development. Lilly describes how hurtful racial microaggressions can be by recalling questions others ask her like “What are you?” She remains resilient and says that even though her skin and hair make her different, “the way that I look / Is not all I’m about.” But she spends so much time talking about her appearance that this may be hard for readers to believe. The rhyming verse that conveys her self-celebration is often clumsy and forced, resulting in a poorly written, plotless story for which the internal illustrations fall far short of the quality of the cover image.

Mixed-race children certainly deserve mirror books, but they also deserve excellent text and illustrations. This one misses the mark on both counts. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63233-170-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Eifrig

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Loewen’s story is a simple snapshot of kindergarten graduation day, and it stays true to form, with Yoshikawa’s artwork resembling photos that might be placed in an album—and the illustrations cheer, a mixed media of saturated color, remarkable depth and joyful expression. The author comfortably captures the hesitations of making the jump from kindergarten to first grade without making a fuss about it, and she makes the prospect something worth the effort. Trepidation aside, this is a reminder of how much fun kindergarten was: your own cubbyhole, the Halloween parade, losing a tooth, “the last time we’ll ever sit criss-cross applesauce together.” But there is also the fledgling’s pleasure at shucking off the past—swabbing the desks, tossing out the stubbiest crayons, taking the pictures off the wall—and surging into the future. Then there is graduation itself: donning the mortarboards, trooping into the auditorium—“Mr. Meyer starts playing a serious song on the piano. It makes me want to cry. It makes me want to march”—which will likely have a few adult readers feeling the same. (Picture book. 4-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-7614-5807-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2011

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