Positive, powerful, and affirming.

FRED GETS DRESSED

Deciding what to wear becomes an adventure for a small boy.

Fred likes to “[romp] through the house naked and wild and free.” His romping takes him into his parents’ bedroom closet, where Fred initially checks out Dad’s clothing. Thinking it would be fun to dress like Dad, Fred selects a shirt, tie, and shoes, but he struggles with them. Moving onto Mom’s side of the closet, Fred opts for a blouse, scarf, and shoes, all of which easily slip on. Dressed in Mom’s clothes and huge shoes, Fred explores her jewelry box and makeup drawer, adding a necklace to his ensemble, but his attempt to apply lipstick ends in a smear. When Mom and Dad see Fred in his chosen apparel, they smile, and soon Mom shows Fred how to apply makeup and style his hair while Dad and the dog join the fun. Rendered in strong, black outlines, simple shapes, and complementary pinks and greens, the memorable illustrations portray Fred as a rosy, free-spirited tot unabashedly streaking through the house as his parents calmly read. Fred’s unsuccessful experiment with Dad’s drab male wardrobe and subsequent exploration of Mom’s more exciting female attire, jewelry, and makeup are presented as an unremarkable occurrence for young Fred. The text-free close-up of Mom’s and Dad’s reactions to Fred in Mom’s clothing sends just the right message of parental acceptance, support, and love. All three have pale skin and straight hair, Fred’s and Dad’s darker than Mom’s.

Positive, powerful, and affirming. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-20064-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 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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A simple but important lesson about anxiety that will speak to young worrywarts everywhere.

THERE'S A UNICORN IN YOUR BOOK

From the Who's in Your Book? series

A troubled little unicorn needs serious help.

There are “worry gremlins” all around threatening his peace of mind. Kids will feel engaged and empowered as they follow the directions to get these gremlins out of the picture. Young readers are told to “wiggle your fingers to make some magic dust,” tickle the unicorn, tell him a joke, and shake the book. None of these tactics quite do the trick, since the gremlins keep coming back and Unicorn’s horn gets stuck in the page. A gentler shake frees the horn, and the text offers another solution, one that kids can take to heart—“The best way to get rid of a worry is to tell someone about it.” Luckily, Unicorn’s friend Monster, an innocuous blue being with tiny pink horns, is there for Unicorn to whisper his worries to. Readers are also urged to whisper something encouraging to Unicorn, who thereafter feels much better. Fears allayed, he and his friends indulge in an exuberant celebration. Kids can join in as they happily sing together against a double-page spread of stars, rays of light, fairies, and disappearing gremlins. The digital illustrations are humorous, and varying typefaces and energetic page reveals add to the fun. This entry in the Who’s in Your Book? series follows the same pattern as the others and includes characters from the previous books.

A simple but important lesson about anxiety that will speak to young worrywarts everywhere. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-43476-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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