Books
Reviews and Praise
WHO? THE KIRKUS BOARD BOOK REVIEW IS IN!

Candlewick Press, 2018

Illustrated by Natascha Rosenberg

This babycentric board book features a diverse cast of characters. Harris is best known for her matter-of-fact and accurate nonfiction (It’s Perfectly Normal, 1994; Who Has What!, 2011; etc.). Her first board book is equally positive, direct, and charming. Although the cover art shows a brown-skinned girl with two poofy pigtails looking up at the titular question, the first double-page spread answers it with a picture of a blond, white boy: “SWEET BABY! NICE BABY!” Is the promised diversity an illusion? Thankfully, no. The next illustrations are of loving pairs—a dark-skinned baby and his “DADA!” are followed by an Asian “MAMA!” “GRAMMA!” is wearing a hijab. In all, 10 different babies, including a set of twins, are shown. The text on each spread is similar, so young children will quickly join in the refrain: “Who? / Who’s that?” The answer is in bright pink uppercase letters. Each right-hand page repeats “Who’s that?” with “BABY AND…” in pink followed by the declarative, “That’s who!” The final spread echoes the first spread, with all the babies identified as “SWEET BABIES! NICE BABIES!” Rosenberg’s illustrations in a springtime palette against white backgrounds are cheery but not saccharine. The message that they are “SWEET BABIES! NICE BABIES!” is one that many babies will want to hear again and again. (Board book. 6 mos.-3)
-Kirkus Review

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BOOM! THE BOOKLIST REVIEW IS IN!

Candlewick Press, 2018

Illustrated by Chris Chatterton

Attention, aspiring architects and engineers: a first builder’s blueprint for constructing really, really tall buildings has arrived! A rosy-cheeked, sky-blue elephant digs into his plastic orange blocks container and stacks one, two more, and four blocks to build a tower as tall as he is. But due to a wiggly, wobbly base, it ascends precariously, only to topple over in a dramatic “CRASH! BOOM!” catastrophe. After an open- mouthed wail, little elephant decides to try again, using the flat sides rather than the ends. Finally, after a few more attempts, a solid structure appears, to the smiling pachyderm’s satisfaction (“TA-DAH!”). Over generous white space, illustrations in bright primary colors incorporate both photographs and pencil drawings, encouraging a child’s computation, creativity, and problem solving. The tenacious elephant, clad in a purple sweater, appears on every page, and his expressive face conveys his every emotion, obvious in this simple story for very young children who want to construct with expertise and count as they go. – Lolly Gepson (Picture book. 3-7)
-Booklist Review

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BOOM! THE KIRKUS REVIEW IS IN!

Candlewick Press, 2018

Illustrated by Chris Chatterton

An elephant tot stacks wooden blocks to measure height. Elephant’s block play is just like young readers’: Elephant kneels, crouches, and stands in the course of building towers that equal their own height. A smile and wide-thrown arms express joy and satisfaction with a job well-done. And when the inevitable oops happens, the reaction is also believable: eyes shut tight, mouth a downward bow, and tears…unless it was a purposeful “crash-boom.” But Elephant is not one to give up easily, and they learn through play that one extra-long block, two rectangular blocks, four square blocks on their ends, and eight square blocks on their faces are all the same height. Chatterton’s illustrations combine collaged-in photos of real wooden blocks; an expressive blue cartoon elephant with a purple shirt, dot eyes, and rosy cheeks; and basic backgrounds—either white space or a yellow wall and green carpet separated by a white baseboard. Unlike many other math titles, there is no note to parents or teachers and no directions to kids—it’s just a simple tale of a child exploring with blocks. Elephant’s pure joy in exploration and success are sure to be catching, so make sure the blocks are close at hand. (Picture book. 3-7)
-Kirkus Review

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BOOM! THE SLJ REVIEW IS IN!

Candlewick Press, 2018

Illustrated by Chris Chatterton

Toddler-PreS–A clever blend of scanned images of wooden unit blocks and a perfectly adorable hand-drawn blue elephant set the stage of this counting and building book. Young readers will instantly be familiar with the elephant’s actions; he carefully places four blocks vertically on top of each other until, “WOW! I did it! It’s as tall as ME!” The pause of a page turn is enough to build suspense for the inevitable crash that follows. Poor elephant cries but continues to rebuild his tower. Background details such as sunflower yellow walls with trim and a shamrock green rug exude joyfulness. The final page turn reveals some basic math equations: one large rectangle unit block, standing next to two, then four, then eight blocks that all equal the same size when placed next to one another vertically. VERDICT A simply presented look at block play and the mathematics behind it. Perfect for early learning collections in both public and school libraries. – Lisa Kropp, Lindenhurst Memorial Library, NY (Picture book. 3-7)
-School Library Journal

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WHAT’S SO YUMMY?
All About Eating Well and Feeling Good

Candlewick Press, 2014

Illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott

“K-Gr 2–While the digital illustrations tell the story of a racially mixed family’s active day (walking and cycling to the community garden, farmer’s market, and grocery store before making lunch and preparing food for an afternoon picnic), text and speech bubbles from siblings Gus and Nellie provide the information about healthy foods and how they affect our bodies. Joined in all of the public settings with a multicultural background cast, smiles abound within and around the family unit, equating the act of making good food choices with family togetherness and fun. This genial positivism, along with the wide variety of featured foods (smartly labeled to provide new things to point out during repeat readings) makes for a fine resource for promoting a healthy lifestyle.” –Joanna K. Fabicon, Los Angeles Public Library
-School Library Journal

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WHO HAS WHAT!
All About Girls’ Bodies and Boys’ Bodies

Candlewick Press, 2011

Illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott

“A family outing to the beach provides the opportunity for a discussion of the similarities and differences between boys and girls.
In a conversation between a pair of mixed-race preschoolers securely strapped in their car seats, Nellie’s play on the words “everybody” and “every body” leads Gus to wondering about body parts. Their beach visit provides an opportunity to see a variety of people and puppies, to itemize all the parts that boys and girls and dogs have in common (head, cheek, belly button, tummy, toes, etc.) and learn about those that are different. Harris (It’s Not the Stork!, 2006, etc.) matter-of-factly combines common childhood language—“opening where poop comes out”—and anatomically correct terms such as vagina, penis and scrotum. The children’s parents explain interior organs (appropriately placed boxes reveal what’s inside) while applying sunscreen. Some information is conveyed in text, some in speech balloons or labels. Westcott’s digital cartoonlike illustrations show different compositions of families representing a wide range of ages, races and nationalities. They include a very pregnant mother in a bathing suit, as well as, appropriately shaded by beach umbrellas, a woman discreetly nursing a baby and a man giving a bottle to his.
This much-needed title stands out for its comfortably familiar presentation of material adults sometime find difficult to share with young children.”
-Kirkus

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THE DAY LEO SAID I HATE YOU!

Little, Brown & Company, Summer 2008

Illustrated by Molly Bang

“The H-word gets the full attention of two of picture-book literature’s finest emotional plumbers. When Leo’s naughty behavior earns him “no” after “no” from his mother, the boy stalks off to his room, “where nobody can say no!” A quick (and unflattering) drawing of Mommy on the wall, however, demonstrates that she can say no wherever she likes. Furious, Leo bursts out with the three dreaded words: “I hate you!” he screams, his giant mouth and the angry red-and-yellow block letters dominating the page. Immediately, he wishes he could take it back, but though Mommy is disappointed in him, a healing discussion about the difference between broccoli and people ensues. Bang utilizes the same shock of colors and shapes she employed in When Sophie Gets Angry… Really, Really Angry (2000), with some mixed media as well, to great emotional effect. When Leo shouts, his anger is palpable — as is his instant regret. Harris’s patient take on a difficult topic will make this must have reading for many a parent and child.”
-Kirkus

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MAIL HARRY TO THE MOON!

Little, Brown & Company, Summer 2008

Illustrated by Michael Emberley

“Mail Harry to the moon!” is just one of the suggestions made by the narrator, who’s suffering the displacement blues since the arrival of his annoying, attention-hogging baby brother. “Before Harry, nobody but me sat on Grandma’s lap,” he mourns. “Yesterday, Harry did. So I said, ‘Put Harry back inside Mommy.’” But when the boy believes that Mommy and Daddy really have taken him up on the moon idea, his attitude changes dramatically. Harris and Emberley (Happy Birth Day!) are old hands at striking the right balance between comic Sturm und Drang and genuine poignancy, and their considerable talents make this otherwise familiar tale feel fresh and funny—and psychologically true. Emberley’s cartooning brims with terrific shtick—he gives the hero some slow burns and outbursts worthy of Ralph Kramden. Kids will particularly appreciate Emberley’s gift for staging: the final sequence, in which the narrator sets off for the moon (a laundry basket serves as rocket, a colander as space helmet), blows out any vestige of sentimentality with its full-throttle energy.”
-Publishers Weekly

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MAYBE A BEAR ATE IT!

Orchard Books, January 2008

Illustrated by Michael Emberley

“The story is familiar: a child’s precious possession is lost, causing all kinds of angst. In this book, though, the art is the story, with just a few well-chosen words to emphasize or clarify what’s happening in the pictures. A whiskered critter (possibly a kitty) clad in stripped pajamas (even his ears and tail are covered) is ready for bed. He climbs among his blankets with his book and his stuffed toys, which include a bat, a shark, and a bear. After arranging everything, he opens his book and begins to read, a look of total rapture on his face. But in the midst of wiggles and yawns, the book disappears. Chewing on the corner of his blankie, he mourns its loss. Has it been stolen by a bat? Swallowed by a shark? Eaten by a bear? Nope. What really happened, as children will eventually discover, is not nearly as exotic. Plain white backgrounds allow Emberley to concentrate closely on his toddler-critter, whose every movement is carefully calibrated. Emberley obviously knows just how toddlers move and react, and every feeling blasts right out across the page. The picture of the critter gleefully skipping across an empty white expanse with his book in hand is priceless. Even adult readers will be hard pressed not to smile when the lost is found. Pair this with Mo Willems’ Knuffle Bunny books.”
-Stephanie Zvirin, Booklist

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IT’S NOT THE STORK!
A Book About Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families, and Friends

Candlewick Press, August 2006

Illustrated by Michael Emberley

“In their previous landmark volumes It’s Perfectly Normal and It’s So Amazing!, Harris and Emberley established themselves as the purveyors of reader-friendly, straightforward information on human sexuality for children as young as seven. Here they successfully tackle the big questions about body parts (in successive chapters called “What Boys Have” and “What Girls Have”), where babies come from, and other related issues for even younger kids. The ever-curious cartoon bird and his more reticent bee friend, first introduced in It’s So Amazing!, set a welcoming tone right from the beginning, when, in a double-page comic-strip spread, they see a baby hippo at the zoo and wonder about its origins. Using basic yet thorough explanations, the text then proceeds to inform the duo that babies don’t grow in gardens or get ordered over the Internet. Emberley’s relaxed cartoon depictions of children and grownups with a realistic array of body types work seamlessly with the text to illustrate everything from anatomy to fetal development to different configurations of families. One useful and particularly humorous illustration titled “Pregnant Woman at the Movies” exemplifies the book’s attention to detail. A mixed-race family — white mom, black dad, son, and baby in utero — sit in their seats at the theater while labels pointing to the mother’s middle distinguish between the stomach and the uterus, clearly showing children that “the fetus doesn’t grow where the popcorn goes!”
-The Horn Book, September/October 2006

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I LOVE MESSES!

(JUST BEING ME series)

Little, Brown & Co., Fall 2005

Illustrated by Nicole Hollander

“These books from the Just Being Me series are great for both children and parents to see how compromise really can make everyone happier. The books, colorfully illustrated by “Sylvia” cartoonist Nicole Hollander, focus on the struggles parents have with their children not wanting to conform to expectations. In the end, kids get their way some of the time and parents learn that sometimes the right way isn’t the only right way: It’s ok to wear your sweat shirt on your legs and your mittens on your feet as long as you’re warm and happy, for example.”
-Press-Telegram

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I’M SO MAD!

(JUST BEING ME series)

Little, Brown & Co., May 2005

Illustrated by Nicole Hollander

“Book 1 in the “Just Being Me” series addresses the important issue of a child’s anger and the tantrums that often follow. When the little girl and her mother go to the grocery store, everything is fine until the little girl decides that she just has to have ice cream. She screams and cries and kicks her feet until her mom is so frustrated that she heads to the checkout counter in a hurry to leave the store. But a little accident with a display of oranges makes the little girl understand that throwing a fit is not the way to get what you want. A good story to help children and parents understand anger and its consequences.” (Ages 4-8)
-Christina Lewis, KidsBookshelf.com

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I’M NOT SLEEPY!

(JUST BEING ME series)

Little, Brown & Co., May 2005

Illustrated by Nicole Hollander

“Book 2 in the “Just Being Me” series addresses one issue that many parents often face, kids not wanting to go to bed! It’s bedtime but the little boy isn’t sleepy. He does everything he can to stay up, so daddy comes in to read a bedtime story. But halfway through the story daddy falls asleep. The little boy tucks his dad in but realizes that he’s sleepy too. But now he can’t get daddy to wake up. A fun story that many kids can relate to. A final note at the back of the book by a professor of child psychology, offers parents advice on bedtime issues.” (Ages 4-8)
-Christina Lewis, KidsBookshelf.com

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SWEET JASMINE, NICE JACKSON
What It’s Like To Be 2 — And To Be Twins

(GROWING UP STORIES series)

Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster Books for Children, August 2004

Illustrated by Michael Emberley

“The third in a series, this book presents a delightful mix of story, factual text, and endearing artwork.”
-Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal, September 2004







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IT’S PERFECTLY NORMAL
Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex & Sexual Health

15th anniversary Edition

Candlewick Press, September 2009

Illustrated by Michael Emberley

“This caring, conscientious, and well-crafted book will be a fine library resource as well as a marvelous adjunct to the middle-school sex-education curriculum… Children will find this a comforting, informative precursor to Lynda Madaras’ book on puberty; librarians will find it well worth fighting for if, by some chance, the need arises.”
-Booklist (starred review), September 1994





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IT’S SO AMAZING!
A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families

10th anniversary Edition

Candlewick Press, January 2009

Illustrated by Michael Emberley

“With its informal yet informed perspective, this volume renders much ‘amazing’ phenomena reassuringly comprehensible.”
-Publishers Weekly (starred review), December 1999







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DON’T FORGET TO COME BACK!

Candlewick Press, February 2004

Pictures by Harry Bliss

“Harris takes on separation anxiety and leavens it with lots of humor.”
-Lauralyn Persson, School Library Journal (starred review), March 2004







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GO! GO! MARIA!
What It’s Like To Be 1

(GROWING UP STORIES series)

Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster Books for Children, August 2003

Illustrated by Michael Emberley

“Harris and Emberley follow Hello Benny! What It’s Like to Be a Baby with this lively look at one-year-old behavior and development.”
-The Horn Book Guide, July-December 2003







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I AM NOT GOING TO SCHOOL TODAY!

Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster Books for Children, July 2003

Illustrated by Jan Ormerod

“The team of Harris and Ormerod once again create a reassuring title with utter purity of feeling… A great send-off.”
-Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 2003







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HELLO BENNY!
What It’s Like To Be a Baby

(GROWING UP STORIES series)

Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster Books for Children, September 2002

Illustrated by Michael Emberley

“Harris’s sprightly but detail-packed style is once again pegged at exactly the right level for her young audience. Any growing family should find this volume a welcome addition.”
-Publishers Weekly, (starred review), July 15, 2002







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GOODBYE MOUSIE

Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster Books for Children, September 2001

Illustrated by Jan Ormerod

“Harris and Ormerod admirably and successfully tackle a child’s first encounter with death”
-Publishers Weekly (starred review), July 30, 2001







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HI NEW BABY!

Candlewick Press, May 2003

Illustrated by Michael Emberley

“Reprising the family first introduced in Happy Birth Day!, Harris and Emberley return with another sensitive and visually sumptuous portrayal of a domestic milestone: the arrival of a second child.”
-Publishers Weekly (starred review), September 18, 20000





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HAPPY BIRTH DAY!

Candlewick Press, July 1996

Illustrated by Michael Emberley

“For the special moment when parents want to answer a child’s questions about birth, this book offers both facts and reassurance. The arrival of Happy Birth Day! is an occasion worth celebrating.”
-School Library Journal, (starred review), December 1996





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