Review: No Fits, Nilson! by Zachariah OHora

no fits nilson

No Fits, Nilson! by Zachariah OHora

Everyone has temper tantrums, but you haven’t seen a tantrum until it is one thrown by a huge blue gorilla.  Nilson has tantrums over even the smallest of things like putting on shoes, his block castle being knocked over, or other people having bananas.  Amelia tries to keep him calm with treats like banana pancakes and holding her frog purse.  But Nilson still has fits.  Amelia though is calm throughout, always acting kindly.  That all changes though when the ice cream vendor runs out of banana flavor! 

This picture book nicely captures tantrums and children, offering a welcome bit of humor for children and parents going through this phase.  By using Nilson as the one who loses his control, the book nicely distances the tantrums from the child reader.  It also adds a wonderful sense of fun to the entire read.  The ending of the book is particularly satisfying as Amelia finally loses her cool and the truth of who Nilson is really is revealed.

OHora’s art is modern, filled with bright colors and black lines.  Somehow it has a feel of wood cuts, but with freer lines.  The friendship of these two characters is lovingly shown in the images, then beautifully shattered with the tantrums too. 

An engaging and funny look at tantrums and anger, this book will neatly fit into any story time on anger.  It is also one that is a perfect bedtime read.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Dial.

Review: Ah Ha! by Jeff Mack

ah ha

Ah ha! by Jeff Mack

A picture book told in just two letters and four words!  Frog is all set to have a relaxing day at the pond (AAHH) when a boy and his dog appear and scoop him into a jar (AH HA!)  But Frog escapes out into the pond once more and settles down on a rock.  It isn’t a rock and suddenly a hungry turtle is after Frog (AH HA!)  Frog escapes once again (AAHH) but finds himself being chomped at by an alligator (AH HA!)  Frog clings to a reed, except it isn’t a reed, it’s a bird’s leg and he has to escape once again.  Right into the boy’s jar.  (AH HA!)

With a similar feel to his Good News, Bad News picture book, Mack once again creates a book that is very cleverly done.  Despite being written with just a few words and two letters, this book tells a complete story that has a wonderful pacing.  With all of the wild predators that Frog faces, the book’s pages will turn quickly. 

Mack’s art is vibrant and colorful.  He draws in a large format that will work well when used with a group.  Even his words are large enough to be read by an audience.  The art has a friendly feel to it, cartoony and bright.

This one is ideal for new readers who are just starting out or for toddlers who will enjoy the fast pace and the shortness of the text.  It would also make a great inspiration for a writing challenge using only a few words to tell a complete story.  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Chronicle Books.