An empowering package that needs adult intercession.


Youngsters meet accomplished women, both historic and contemporary.

Zaha Hadid admires one of her buildings; Amelia Earhart flies an airplane; and Harriet Tubman braves the woods at night. In alternating double- and single-page spreads, prominent women are depicted with oversized, oval heads and toddler-esque bodies along with the activities they are known for. This design choice may both attract and confuse little ones, as the audience is likely to assume these figures are children. The text follows a gentle pattern with the two-word phrases appearing on the single-page spreads and a three-word phrase on the double-page spreads. For the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova, poet/author Maya Angelou, and scientist Jane Goodall, the verse reads: “Dream FAR, / Dream WIDE, // Dream WILD dreams.” However, the name of each featured woman is hard to find, as it hidden in a very small, script type embedded in each illustration. Thankfully, a list of all the women presented appears in the back along with a short description of their accomplishment. The diversity of the women presented is refreshing, as 10 of the 15 figures are people of color. While many of the activities these women engage in will be accessible to toddlers, such as Frida Kahlo’s painting and Florence Griffith Joyner’s running, others may take more explanation from a grown-up, such as the math and science of Katherine Johnson and Chien-Shiung Wu. The final double-page spread encourages children to follow their own dreams in a setting that shows women engaged in a variety of activities.

An empowering package that needs adult intercession. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-33868-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Simple words and big concepts will make this a godsend to parents at their wit's end.


From the Big Kid Power series

This book seeks to use the power of persuasion to vanquish that most formidable of opponents: toddlers.

In this entry in the Big Kid Power series, a little black girl makes no bones about the fact that pacifiers (or “binkies”) are strictly baby territory. When she was little she needed one, but that was then. Whether she’s tired, sad, or hungry, there are other ways of being comforted: hugs and polite requests, for instance. After she gives her binky to a baby and bids it a very clear goodbye, the book ends with a triumphant, “I’M A BIG KID!” Using a striking color combination of orange, brown, and black, van Lieshout keeps her pages bold and bright, complementing the simple vocabulary. Such declarations as, “Do I still have a binky? // NO, BIG KIDS DON’T NEED A BINKY. / NOPE!” leave scant wiggle room for argument. In her author’s note at the end, van Lieshout says that after speaking to many parents about how they helped their kids bid their pacifiers adieu, “many of them had in common…a ritual of some sort.” The ritual here seems to be giving the pacifier away, though it may be missed by many readers. Companion title I Use the Potty uses a similar approach, with a proud, white boy as its guide.

Simple words and big concepts will make this a godsend to parents at their wit's end. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4521-3536-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2016

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Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original...


From the Kissing Hand series

A sweetened, condensed version of the best-selling picture book, The Kissing Hand.

As in the original, Chester Raccoon is nervous about attending Owl’s night school (raccoons are nocturnal). His mom kisses him on the paw and reminds him, “With a Kissing Hand… / We’ll never be apart.” The text boils the story down to its key elements, causing this version to feel rushed. Gone is the list of fun things Chester will get to do at school. Fans of the original may be disappointed that this board edition uses a different illustrator. Gibson’s work is equally sentimental, but her renderings are stiff and flat in comparison to the watercolors of Harper and Leak. Very young readers will probably not understand that Owl’s tree, filled with opossums, a squirrel, a chipmunk and others, is supposed to be a school.

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original shouldn’t look to this version as replacement for their page-worn copies. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933718-77-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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