NIT-PICKIN’

Though perhaps not particularly amusing to children (or their parents) who have actually battled the little scalp-suckers, this bouncy-jouncy plaint at least attempts to put a comical spin on the experience. “I was scritcha-scratchin’ / while a batch-a bugs / was hatchin’, / yes, those cooties were / attachin’ to my head,” moans the red-haired young narrator. Unfortunately, everyone in her extended family has a remedy—from Gramma’s mayonnaise cure to Mama’s plastic wrap, from Gramps’s kerosene concoction to (at last) the dog’s tube of special shampoo. Above the cartoon scenes of bedraggled country characters stomping ferociously about, Booth runs a thin continuous strip showing little bugs parachuting down to a seemingly forested cranial landscape, hatching in droves in a “nit picknic area” and wading through various sorts of gloop. Closing with a view of a nit graveyard thick with tombstones bearing legends like “Here lies Itty-Bitty Nitty, Jr.”, this kneeslapper makes a suitable alternative where Miriam Moss’s Scritch Scratch (2001) has already been picked out. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-689-83898-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2008

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SWEET TOOTH

The creators of Bedhead (2000) score again with this uproarious tale of a lad beleaguered by a aggressive sweet tooth with an attitude that’s anything but sweet. Stuck with a bad rep thanks to a molar given to bellowing out “I NEED A CANDY BAR. NOW-OW!” at inopportune moments, Stewart finally starts to fight back, switching to vegetables and, when the grouchy grinder refuses to knuckle under, pulling out the ultimate weapon: a raw carrot. A few crunches later, out comes the offending tooth, off to become a headache for the Tooth Fairy. Decorating his scenes with arrays of tempting junk food, Davis illustrates the oral onslaught with views of a grimacing tooth waving tiny fists from the mouth of a moon-faced, pop-eyed child. Readers fond of the wordplay and anatomical humor of Richard Egielski’s Buz (1995) will bite happily. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-85159-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2004

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Of potential use to children entering a pediatric hospital.

BECKY AND KAIA'S NEW ADDITION

A TALE OF PENN STATE CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL

Two golden retrievers are important staff members at Penn State Children’s Hospital.

The well-trained dogs are part of the Child Life program, and one day in their busy lives is thoroughly described—in fact, too thoroughly described. A very wordy text overwhelms this picture book as the dogs meet child after child throughout the hospital: in the lobby, patient rooms, the group play area, the crafts space, and the MRI area. Children and staff in the colorful but stiff illustrations are racially diverse. These dogs exhibit exceptional intelligence and emotional understanding, but sometimes the text stretches credulity. When Kaia meets a young patient, the dog looks confused when a nurse mentions “the balloon that helped Stella get here.” The nurse explains to the dog (and readers) that a colorful hot air balloon is the symbol of the Children’s Miracle Network. “Kaia was impressed.” The book seems to be trying to appeal to young children but is constantly promoting both the hospital and the charities supporting its important work. Episodes when one of the dogs demonstrates how her training helps with patients are sweet and informative, but they are simply surrounded by too much verbiage. The title refers to a newly opened additional floor and a third dog, introduced on the final page. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-12-inch double-page spreads viewed at 39.5% of actual size.)

Of potential use to children entering a pediatric hospital. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-951631-11-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Santa Fe Writers Project

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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