Reviews by KieraP
Funny adventure story
A powerhouse duo (Broach, author of several great mysteries for kids including Masterpiece; and Egielski, a Caldecott medalist) bring us this tongue-in-cheek adventure story for the kindergarten to first grade crowd. When Peter’s favorite uncle, Uncle Nigel, invites him on an expedition to Africa, Peter is told that all he needs to make it is “gumption!” In a visual joke that runs throughout the book, Uncle Nigel is too preoccupied trudging through various jungle flora with “gumption” that he misses all the amazing interactions Peter has with the animals- like swinging through the trees on a snake, sliding down an elephant’s trunk, or being transported across a river on the back of a crocodile. With some explanation and time to point out and discuss the illustrations, this could also be a fun book in preschool storytimes.
Great for preschoolers
A perfect story for Sleeptime or Totally Preschool. In a cute (but not saccharine) role reversal, a little girl gets her mommy ready for bed; she makes sure she brushes her teeth, she reads her a story, tucks her in, etc. Just when she sighs a breath of relief at a job well done…’s time for daddy. Rosenthal once again deftly inhabits the mind and sense of humor of the preschool crowd with aplomb.
Tweenage Wasteland
Chronicling the drama and epic tragedy that is adolescence comes easy to Telgemeier, who grew up devouring The Babysitter’s Club, obsessing over the New Kids on the Block, and wishing desperately for pierced ears. It’s no wonder that she was chosen to illustrate Ann M. Martin’s beloved series when it jumped into the new Millennium as a graphic novel.

Smile, based on her own experiences throughout middle and high school, is Telgemeier’s latest (and greatest) graphic work for the 9 to 12ish set. It’s funny, authentic, and if you are a child of the eighties (ahem), it’s downright required reading.
Lovely and funny, too
A sweetly naïve elephant discovers a perplexing new object- a thingamabob. At first, he can find no practical use for the thingamabob- it does not allow him to fly; it does not provide adequate coverage during hide-and-seek; and he certainly cannot sail in it. A rainy day soon follows and a eureka! moment and a happy ending is had by all.

The story has been a hit with preschoolers. Knowing something that the main character does not provides a lot of humor for the 3 and 4 crowd.

The best part are the lovely illustrations- a combination of painterly textures as the backdrop and hand-drawn images that have been digitally layered to create the foreground. Na’s pencil lines are detailed and whimsical. Her characters are quirky and sweet. Also check out her beautiful Book of Sleep.
Retro-style cool
In this nearly wordless picture book, a little boy too shy to join a baseball game with kids his own age wanders over to a group of old men on a park bench. Over the course of the week, the little-bodied, big-headed little boy begins to morph into what he thinks an old man should be; garish plaid pants, glasses, a cane, and a determined scowl. Something unexpected happens, however, when the (real) old men start behaving like kids.

The subtlety of the narrative and the lack of text (other than the days of the week), makes this a better choice for slightly older picturebook readers- perhaps 1st and 2nd graders. The standout feature are the retro-style illustrations done in gouache and ink. Newman’s line is energetic yet economical. The limited palette and use of white space give the book a very 1960’s flavor.