Simplistic at best, misleading at worst, and addressed mostly to grown-ups, notwithstanding the picture-book format.

WHY DO I HAVE TO EAT MY GREENS?

BIG ISSUES FOR LITTLE PEOPLE ABOUT HEALTH AND WELL BEING

From the Life and Soul Library series

Two clinical child psychologists reinterpret a dozen childhood minirebellions as requests for information on topics from bathing and bedwetting to the titular veggies.

Taking a utilitarian tone from the outset, this discussion guide opens with general instructions for adult book-sharers (“Step 3: Direct the child’s attention to the illustration…”), then goes on to present 12 common domestic scenarios. Each of these features a large cartoon illustration, a short written narrative, three leading discussion questions (“How do you think Ibrahim feels about brushing his teeth?”), and further advice to parents. None of the common queries here are on the level of “Where did I come from?” but some, such as “Why can’t I wet the bed?” or “Why can’t I have some of your wine?” will likely require actions or responses that are beyond the scope of this cut-and-dried format (“Because I said so!” is not an offered option). The five children are racially diverse, but Yuki’s and her mom’s exaggeratedly slanted eyes and yellow skin come dangerously close to stereotype. For the already uninformed query “Why do I have to wear sunscreen when it’s sunny?” light-skinned Angus on the beach turns a particularly alarming shade of red.

Simplistic at best, misleading at worst, and addressed mostly to grown-ups, notwithstanding the picture-book format. (select print and web resources) (Informational picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: July 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-84780-865-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.”

NOODLE AND THE NO BONES DAY

Graziano tells the story of his TikTok-famous pug, Noodle.

Noodle is a silly, stubborn old pug who likes walks and snacks. “He’s a pug who knows what he wants.” Jonathan, his light-skinned owner, loves taking Noodle for walks and sharing snacks—they are a perfect pair. But one day, when it’s time for a walk, Noodle just lies in his dog bed. Even when Jonathan tries to make Noodle sit up, Noodle flops back down. “It’s like he doesn’t have bones!” says Jonathan. Noodle doesn’t seem sick—he just wants snacks and to stay in bed. Finally, Jonathan asks if Noodle would just like to snuggle instead and receives a strong affirmative from the drowsy pug. Together Noodle and his human enjoy a relaxing “no bones day” and learn an important lesson about rest and why it matters for silly, stubborn old pugs and for the humans who love them, too. Many may already be familiar with Noodle through his TikTok videos (if Noodle remains standing when Graziano lifts him, it’s a “bones day”; among Noodle’s followers, a “no bones day” has come to mean a day for self-care and taking it easy). However, this story stands alone and will likely create new fans for a long time to come. Hand-drawn and painted digitally, Tavis’ illustrations rely on a muted palette and rounded images, depicting an appropriately cozy world. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A perfect story to enjoy on a “no bones day.” (author's note) (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66592-710-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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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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