Kids Will Be Kids
New stories highlight the trials and triumphs of being a kid.
While You Were Napping
By Jenny Offil
Illustrated by Barry Blitt
Best for: Ages 4-8
Do you have you children who just don’t want to go to sleep for fear of missing something? This tale takes a very funny look at one little boy’s story. His mother tells him he won’t miss a thing while he naps. But if his big sister is to be believed, he misses a “giant party” with construction crews, fireworks and pirates. She reminds him several times that he “was the only kid napping.” His snarky sister weaves a thrilling tale, and all children will be eager to see what else her little brother missed while he was napping.
Blitt’s watercolor illustrations are packed full of visual jokes and interesting tidbits. Take your time looking at the pages. You never know what you’ll see—sword-fighting spacemen, walking dinosaur skeletons and much more. This tale is sure to bring a smile to your children’s faces—and confirm their biggest fear about napping.
What’s good: Sibling rivalry with hidden humor and adventure.
What’s bad: More real-world context would be helpful early in the story.
Uni the Unicorn
By Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Illustrated by Brigette Barrager
Best for: Girls, ages 3-7
This story has the throwback feel of a 1960s Golden Book. The illustrations are bright and lively, and the message is simple. Hang onto the beliefs that make you childlike for as long as you can. Uni lives in a world where little girls are fantasy. But Uni believes even though her friends do not. The story flips to our world about two-thirds in and focuses on a little girl who believes in unicorns even though her friends do not.
These two never actually meet, although it’s easy to continue the story yourself—making up the adventures Uni and the little girl have together in their tale says it’s okay to cling to your beliefs in the face of laughter and disbelief. It’s okay to be a kid.
What’s good: Bright illustrations that bring a smile to your face.
What’s bad: Lack of a resolution.
Marlene, Marlene, Queen of Mean
By Jane Lynch, Lara Embry, Ph.D, and A.E. Mikesell
Illustrated by Tricia Tusa
Best for: Ages 3-7
Marlene wants to be in charge. She wants to be important. Unfortunately, she’s a bully to all of her grade school peers. She pushes and shoves. She ties shoelaces together and is generally cruel. Everyone in her class is afraid. Then Big Freddy, a fellow student, takes a stand. He sees through the bullying. With his help, the other students stop being afraid. When that happens, Marlene has to make a change to remain important.
The rhymes don’t flow like they should. That simple issue can take the reader out of the story, which would be a shame. This tale’s message is one worth reading. It takes a look at bullying and how to handle it so that kids can relate.
What’s good: Illustrations with energy and movement to engage your readers.
What’s bad: Poor rhyming text structure will make readers stumble.