The loving parental sentiments ring true, and young listeners will chime in on the “hoo” sounds throughout the story.

LOVE YOU HOO

A proud parent speaks of hopes and dreams for a young child.

In rhyming lines that do not shy away from cliché, the parent owl takes great satisfaction in introducing an owlet to the world: “We’ll never stop exploring, / There’s so much to see and do. / Now you’re here, there’s ALWAYS more / I’m looking forward to.” This sentiment is illustrated with a scene of the two owls flying over a landscape dotted with signposts; a flag on a mountain signals: “Top of the World.” A bay with two tall-masted ships and a whale’s tail is labeled “Wonderful Adventures.” “Going with the flow” is lettered on a sign alongside a river. Although many of the parent-child experiences center on flying, the natural activity of birds, there is one double-page spread that pictures the little owl in distinctly human situations, experimenting with careers such as DJ and florist. This page, composed of many small, humorous vignettes very different from the bold, large images in most of the intensely colored illustrations, is the most fun for a caregiver and child to examine together. The baby owl can be seen presiding over a “World Leaders’ Summit,” becoming a rocket scientist and an archaeologist, climbing Mount Everest, and working as a professional dog walker. The parent owl wisely says: “You see... // whoever you are going to be... / whatever you may do... // wherever you may choose to fly... // ...I’ll ALWAYS love you - hooooooo!”

The loving parental sentiments ring true, and young listeners will chime in on the “hoo” sounds throughout the story. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-61067-621-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Fun enough once through, but not much more.

THE SPAGHETTI-SLURPING SEWER SERPENT

A pint-sized sleuth tracks a purple underground monster.

When Mom scrapes the family's uneaten spaghetti into the sink, young Sammy Sanders hears strange slurping sounds. He becomes "77 percent convinced" that a spaghetti-slurping serpent lives in his sewer, and can't get to sleep. The next morning, Sammy and his little sister Sally investigate. There are meatballs and strands of limp spaghetti around the manhole cover! Sammy, whose round glasses make the whites of his eyes look as enormous as an owl's, can barely contain his excitement. After he removes the cover, Sally slips on some sauce and lands in the sewer, becoming a smelly sludgy mess. Sammy's left to investigate alone and comes up with a brilliant idea. Late that night, he sneaks out of the house with a salty snack for himself and a bowl of spaghetti for the serpent. But he falls asleep, and the huge serpent slithers up to the scrumptious spaghetti. Slurping sounds startle Sammy awake; he's face-to-face with the monster. There's just one thing to do: Share! Sammy' salty snack earns him a friend for life. And that night, he sleeps soundly, 100% sure that there's a serpent in his sewer. Zenz's illustrations, in Prismacolor colored pencil, look generic, but Ripes' yarn has pace and phonetic crackle.

Fun enough once through, but not much more.    (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7614-6101-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Review Posted Online: Feb. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

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Mixed-race children certainly deserve mirror books, but they also deserve excellent text and illustrations. This one misses...

BEAUTIFUL, WONDERFUL, STRONG LITTLE ME!

This tan-skinned, freckle-faced narrator extols her own virtues while describing the challenges of being of mixed race.

Protagonist Lilly appears on the cover, and her voluminous curly, twirly hair fills the image. Throughout the rhyming narrative, accompanied by cartoonish digital illustrations, Lilly brags on her dark skin (that isn’t very), “frizzy, wild” hair, eyebrows, intellect, and more. Her five friends present black, Asian, white (one blonde, one redheaded), and brown (this last uses a wheelchair). This array smacks of tokenism, since the protagonist focuses only on self-promotion, leaving no room for the friends’ character development. Lilly describes how hurtful racial microaggressions can be by recalling questions others ask her like “What are you?” She remains resilient and says that even though her skin and hair make her different, “the way that I look / Is not all I’m about.” But she spends so much time talking about her appearance that this may be hard for readers to believe. The rhyming verse that conveys her self-celebration is often clumsy and forced, resulting in a poorly written, plotless story for which the internal illustrations fall far short of the quality of the cover image.

Mixed-race children certainly deserve mirror books, but they also deserve excellent text and illustrations. This one misses the mark on both counts. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63233-170-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Eifrig

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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