Another successful addition to the I Like to Read series: “I see a winner!” (Early reader. 4-8)

I SEE A CAT

From the I Like To Read series

Ten words may be all it takes to convince some young children to try reading.

An expressive dog, locked inside on a sunny day, is increasingly frustrated by its confinement. Each sentence begins: “I see a….” “Cat,” “bird,” “fly,” “squirrel,” “mice,” “bee,” and so on complete the sentence on successive subsequent double-page spreads. Almost all the action takes place on the other side of a sliding-glass door. Only the fly is inside, buzzing annoyingly around the dog in four vignettes. When a brown-skinned child appears, the dog is clearly delighted. Freed at last, the dog immediately chases the squirrel up a tree. Despite its limited vocabulary, Meisel’s simple story is surprisingly satisfying. New readers will fill in the missing details from clues in the uncluttered illustrations, several spreads of which are completely wordless. For example, the child is first shown with a backpack—just returning home from school, perhaps? Even before the title page, a wordless frontmatter sequence begins the story. On the title page the dog’s eyes clearly signal displeasure at having to come inside. “Squirrel,” the hardest of the 10 words used, appears three times, providing practice while also making it clear that the squirrel is dog’s chief antagonist. The repeated sentence structure helps build confidence and fosters reading fluency.

Another successful addition to the I Like to Read series: “I see a winner!” (Early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3680-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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Charming characters, a clever plot and a quiet message tucked inside a humorous tale.

YOU ARE (NOT) SMALL

From the You Are (Not) Small series

Fuzzy, bearlike creatures of different sizes relate to one another in an amusing story that explores the relative nature of size.

A small purple creature meets a similarly shaped but much larger orange critter. The purple creature maintains that the orange creature is “big”; the orange one counters by calling the purple one “small.” This continues, devolving into a very funny shouting match, pages full of each type of creature hollering across the gutter. This is followed by a show-stopping double-page spread depicting two huge, blue legs and the single word “Boom!” in huge display type. Tiny, pink critters then float down by parachute, further complicating the size comparisons. Eventually, these brightly colored animals learn to see things in a different way. In the end, they decide they are all hungry and trudge off to eat together. The story is told effectively with just a few words per page, though younger readers might need help understanding the size and perspective concepts. Cartoon-style illustrations in ink and watercolor use simple shapes with heavy black outlines set off by lots of white space, with an oversized format and large typeface adding to the spare but polished design. While the story itself seems simple, the concepts are pertinent to several important social issues such as bullying and racism, as well as understanding point of view.

Charming characters, a clever plot and a quiet message tucked inside a humorous tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4772-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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Though Jim may have been grumpy because a chimp’s an ape and not a monkey, readers will enjoy and maybe learn from his...

GRUMPY MONKEY

It’s a wonderful day in the jungle, so why’s Jim Panzee so grumpy?

When Jim woke up, nothing was right: "The sun was too bright, the sky was too blue, and bananas were too sweet." Norman the gorilla asks Jim why he’s so grumpy, and Jim insists he’s not. They meet Marabou, to whom Norman confides that Jim’s grumpy. When Jim denies it again, Marabou points out that Jim’s shoulders are hunched; Jim stands up. When they meet Lemur, Lemur points out Jim’s bunchy eyebrows; Jim unbunches them. When he trips over Snake, Snake points out Jim’s frown…so Jim puts on a grimacelike smile. Everyone has suggestions to brighten his mood: dancing, singing, swinging, swimming…but Jim doesn’t feel like any of that. He gets so fed up, he yells at his animal friends and stomps off…then he feels sad about yelling. He and Norman (who regrets dancing with that porcupine) finally just have a sit and decide it’s a wonderful day to be grumpy—which, of course, makes them both feel a little better. Suzanne Lang’s encouragement to sit with your emotions (thus allowing them to pass) is nearly Buddhist in its take, and it will be great bibliotherapy for the crabby, cranky, and cross. Oscar-nominated animator Max Lang’s cartoony illustrations lighten the mood without making light of Jim’s mood; Jim has comically long arms, and his facial expressions are quite funny.

Though Jim may have been grumpy because a chimp’s an ape and not a monkey, readers will enjoy and maybe learn from his journey. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-553-53786-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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