Hand this book to girls who might need a boost to their self-esteem, especially girls of color.

I'M GROWING GREAT

An empowering picture book sows seeds of positivity and possibility.

The Black and brown young girls who are the stars of this garden-themed motivational manifesto announce their great pride in how well they’re growing—in mindfulness, hopefulness, calmness, self-awareness, and inner strength. Each girl stands contentedly in a different flower garden, sporting a distinctive, elegant natural hairstyle, and dressed gracefully in a feminine outfit. An affirmation appears on each spread (for example “STEADY AS A TREE! / PEACE WITHIN ME!”) in the form of a rhyming couplet set in large capital letters and followed by the mantra “I am growing great!” Some of these declarations—like “EXPLORING MY FEELINGS! / BRINGS KIND HEALING!”—may go over younger children’s heads; however, kids should have no trouble understanding the book’s final statement: “I am born to be great!” While the author’s intent is admirable, the text feels twee and lacks meaningful emotional content. The ebullient, brightly colored, eye-catching illustrations, set against mostly pastel-colored backgrounds, are the real draw here. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Hand this book to girls who might need a boost to their self-esteem, especially girls of color. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-42890-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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Energetic and earnest but not groundbreaking.

I'M NOT SCARED, YOU'RE SCARED

Unlikely friends Bear and Rabbit face fears together.

The anthropomorphic creatures set out on an adventure. Graphic-based illustrations give the book a Pixar movie feel, with a variety of page layouts that keep the story moving. Large blocks of black text are heavy on dialogue patterns as timid Bear and bold Rabbit encounter obstacles. Bear fears every one of them, from the stream to the mountain. He’ll do anything to avoid the objects of terror: taking a bus, a train, and even a helicopter. As Rabbit asks Bear if he’s frightened, Bear repeatedly responds, “I’m not scared, you’re scared!” and children will delight in the call-and-response opportunities. Adults may tire of the refrain, but attempts to keep everyone entertained are evident in asides about Bear's inability to brush food from his teeth (he’s too afraid to look at himself in the mirror) and Rabbit's superstrong ears (which do come in handy later). When Rabbit finds herself in danger after Bear defects on the adventure, Bear retraces the trip. Along the way, he notes that the stream wasn't as deep, nor the mountain as high, as he thought when he was scared. While picture-book shelves may not be screaming for another comedically sweet bear story, especially one that treads such familiar territory, many readers will appreciate this tale of overcoming fears. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Energetic and earnest but not groundbreaking. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35237-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Flamingo Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

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