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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Children will be intrigued by the fairy-tale quality of this narrative and may enjoy debating the motivations of its...


From the Shape Trilogy series

The pairing of Barnett’s deceptively simple, tongue-in-cheek text with Klassen’s iconic splattered and stenciled watercolor and digital illustrations in earth tones makes for a unique approach to exploring shapes.

Triangle, a black shape with stick legs and large eyes, inhabits a triangular house. Tired of triangular living, he leaves his domain and sets out to play a “sneaky trick” on Square. Walking past a forest of different-sized triangles and shapes resembling huge boulders, he comes to the land of the squares. When he arrives at Square’s house, he hisses at Square’s door like a snake, sending the four-sided shape into conniptions until his laughter gives him away. Mad as heck at the trick, Square chases Triangle back through the forest of shapes to Triangle’s house. Alas, his shape prevents him from entering the triangular doorway. Inadvertently, Square discovers Triangle’s fear of the dark when he blocks the light from the doorway, causing Triangle to cry out with terror. Square claims this is what he intended all along. “But do you really believe him?” The book is limited as shape instruction, as only two easy shapes are depicted, but that’s not really the point. Klassen’s minimalist visuals make for beautiful, surreal landscapes as the shapes go back and forth; Barnett’s even-more-minimalist narrative leaves gaps of many shapes and sizes for readers to ponder.

Children will be intrigued by the fairy-tale quality of this narrative and may enjoy debating the motivations of its peculiar characters. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9603-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Jan. 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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