MINI-REVIEWS: A Bad Case of Stripes, Felicia the Critic, The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm

A Bad Case of Stripes – David Shannon ★★★★
A classic picture book about a girl who turns all stripey because she’s so worried about what other people think of her! It has heavy shades of Dr. Seuss’ Daisy-Head Maisie, only the moral is not JUST to accept others who’re different from you but ALSO to enjoy what you love, even if nobody else thinks it’s any good. (And apparently also that doctors don’t know anything?) The art is lovely and I would for sure read this to a class if I thought they’d sit still long enough for it.

Felicia the Critic – Ellen Conford ★★
I read this book solely because of the title. Felicia criticizes things even when people ask her not to, and eventually she gets the idea to give constructive criticism instead of just complaining. Unfortunately for Felicia, she’s still a kid for who the adult world is a big mystery full of weird stuff, so her plan backfires big time and she spends a lot of the book wondering why it didn’t work. Other subplots include dealing with her group of friends (most of whom aren’t actually very friendly), trying to find her place in school/her family/her world, an older sister going through the beginnings of teenager life, and various other 1970s slice-of-life antics. Fun! That said, I do wish the ending had tied together the plot threads a little more neatly.

The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm – LeVar Burton & Susan Schaefer Bernardo ★★★
I went and saw LeVar Burton at the LA Times Festival of Books this year and it was SO GREAT. He’s a very good speaker, totally entertaining and gracious and pretty unflappable when people ask him weird questions. And then he read his book to us! And everyone was enthralled. The book’s super heavy-handed with the metaphors, but kids would probably like it (maybe for storytime, even?) and the illustrations were very cute.

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