Unfortunately, the well-meaning message is delivered by a character whose lack of affect has no likely appeal for the...


A particularly poker-faced clown searches far and wide for happiness after the circus closes, only to find it after a most unexpected and unpleasant event.

On the cover Bobo’s smile is missing. Even though the endpapers offer myriad upturned mouths to choose from, recovering his smile will not come so easily. Yes, life was good when he could make people laugh, but that all vanishes when the circus is shuttered. Initially sad, the clown decides to take a trip around the world. Chwast’s flat, bright colors outlined in ink on muted pastel backgrounds illustrate his many adventures: in an airplane, on a roller coaster, astride an elephant and underwater. Each framed picture portrays a straight-faced Bobo experiencing it all. The first-person narration, delivered in an easy-to-read text, accompanies the retro graphic art. “Finally it was time to go home.” The following wordless spread reveals a bewildered Bobo crossing a city street teeming with vehicles. Somewhat shockingly the page turn shows a suspicious man all in brown robbing the colorful clown. This results in the buttons falling off of his clothes and hat. He then begins to juggle the buttons—still with an expressionless face. Soon his juggling draws a crowd. Then he smiles.

Unfortunately, the well-meaning message is delivered by a character whose lack of affect has no likely appeal for the intended preschool audience.   (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 15, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-56846-221-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Creative Editions/Creative Company

Review Posted Online: Feb. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.


Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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A quiet book about making a giant leap.


Lottie knows something no one else knows. Her mother and brother don’t know. Her swimming instructor does not know, and the other children in swim class certainly don’t know.

There is a shark that lives in the pool. It wants to eat Lottie—only Lottie—and Lottie is not going to let it get anywhere near her. Most children have had moments when they’ve sat on the sidelines watching others laugh and play because they were too scared to just dive in, and that is precisely where Lottie finds herself. Lucky for her, Walter shows up just in time. He sings, they read books, play in bubbles, and even share the same favorite food. But when it comes time for Lottie to face her fears, can Walter truly help? Walter, as readers and Lottie see but her family may not, is an enormous walrus. Walker’s soft and appropriately watery illustrations complement and extend her whimsical text, lending a dreamlike feel to the story. Readers will discern the shadowy, predatory shape of the shark below the surface of the water even as Lottie’s classmates splash and play, and they will sympathize, and they will giggle at the depictions of Walter’s huge bulk in Lottie’s tidy urban home while believing that Walter will protect her. Lottie, her mother, and her brother have light-brown skin and black hair.

A quiet book about making a giant leap. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-47038-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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