From School Library Journal
PreS—This charming book describes what it means "to be nice" through single words or simple phrases and expressive illustrations of animals created out of swirled acrylic paint, ink, and china markers. Laid out on solid-color backgrounds, the text appears in a variety of fonts and hues. Two blue koalas embrace atop a large, orange "cuddle." Two chicks "nestle" in the grass. For the word "LOOK," two owls gaze at each other; "…but don't stare" on the opposite page shows a green frog gawking at a red bird. Some of the words demonstrate and others remonstrate. Taken together, they allow children to grasp what adults mean when they say, "Be nice." A useful item for all picture-book collections.—Linda Staskus, Parma Regional Library, OH
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In the simplest of formats, with just a few words of text, various animals placed against blank backgrounds demonstrate what it means to be nice—koalas “cuddle,” chicks “nestle,” and horses “nuzzle.” Other animals illustrate how to be gentle: “Squeeze . . . not too hard!” and “Pat . . . but don’t stomp flat!” are paired with monkeys hugging and an elephant patting a cat, respectively. The narrators then move to anger management: “When you get in a snit, Don’t hit—say how you feel. Take time.” Reminiscent of the style and design of many of Chris Raschka’s books, especially his Thingy Things series, abstract brush strokes create the bodies of the animals with facial features drawn in black lines to give them definition. The backgrounds, which are blank in most cases, are brightly colored or stark white. The endpages modify the concept with continuous sets of alliterative words that run off each edge of the pages, like “lovable lemurs” and “hospitable hogs.” Enjoyable, informative, and just plain nice. Preschool-Grade 2. --Randall Enos