A silly picture book that offers readers humor to confront anxieties.

THE CREEPY-CRAWLY THOUGHT

A child banishes anxious thoughts in a series of positive visualizations in this rhyming tale by Hughes (Kasey & Ivy, 2018, etc.).

The book’s narrator—a cartoonishly illustrated pear-shaped girl with pale skin and brown hair—is plagued by a “creepy-crawly” thought, which manifests as a cloudy, purple creature that hovers between her and the sun. The girl explains that this thought invites friends at night, which only makes matters worse. Tired of their interference, the girl takes action, planning ways to get rid of such ideas, such as flushing them down a toilet, throwing them into a fireplace, feeding them to fish, or blowing them into balloons and sending them into outer space. By singing and thinking happy thoughts, she shoos the negative notions away. Although Hughes’ tale offers no concrete, realistic suggestions for banishing anxiety, young readers may giggle at the narrator’s ideas, which could help them combat their own fears. The rhymes feel natural and use approachable vocabulary, and although some lines scan a little longer than others, the overall rhythm is consistent. Rabby’s humorous, mixed-media illustrations—which feature cartoon characters, painterly backgrounds, and innovative erasing of slithery, black outlines—will generate enough smiles to put creepy-crawlies on the run.

A silly picture book that offers readers humor to confront anxieties.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-9993934-0-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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