Nina in That Makes Me Mad


Nina has had enough!

What makes Nina mad? Lots of things--lots of little, everyday things, frustrations that all children will recognize. But Nina knows how to speak her mind and that makes her feel much better. In a series of humorous vignettes, Hilary Knight, the artist who brought the enormously successful Eloise to life, applies his magic to a text by veteran children's book writer Steven Kroll, and brings to life a spunky character who ...

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Nina has had enough!

What makes Nina mad? Lots of things--lots of little, everyday things, frustrations that all children will recognize. But Nina knows how to speak her mind and that makes her feel much better. In a series of humorous vignettes, Hilary Knight, the artist who brought the enormously successful Eloise to life, applies his magic to a text by veteran children's book writer Steven Kroll, and brings to life a spunky character who will show young readers how to articulate their feelings.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Your kid will find plenty to relate to in graphic-novelish vignettes about what bothers Nina.

Nina is an Everychild with a hint of attitude. She certainly knows what pushes her buttons, and with their extensive experience writing for kids, her creators Kroll and Knight have touched upon the very things that make many children mad. Nina, drawn with affection and exuberance, should make lots of new, equally offended friends.

Children's Literature - Kathie M. Josephs
This is a must-have book for children! It is a very cleverly written book with a perfect layout for its message. Every two pages has a new "story." On the left side is a picture of Nina saying what makes her mad. On the right page is a mini example showing what she meant. The things that make her mad are the same things that make most children angry. For example, Nina gets mad when she does something nice and no one cares, or when she tries to do something and it doesn't work. Explaining these feeling to an adult can sometimes be difficult for a child, and this book would certainly make it easier. The book is so reader-friendly, well-written, and absolutely right on the button that it will become a family favorite. The illustrations are fantastic, truly depicting the problems. At the end of the book, the author includes information about the three levels of reading comics with kids. This book is labeled level 2. Whether the child can read independently or relies on someone reads aloud to him, this is a perfect book for learning that it is okay to sometimes be angry. The last page is very moving and a perfect ending for a children's book. Reviewer: Kathie M. Josephs
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—Benjamin always seems to be in the right place to assist a friend, as when he and Rabbit are stuck in a snowstorm and Rabbit is happy to take shelter underneath his sizable belly, making the bear a living snowdrift. The overlying theme through all of the single-page vignettes is Benjamin's willingness to help his pals. His laugh-out-loud antics are brilliantly displayed in easy-to-follow, colorful panels. Able to leap great ravines, find his way out of a maze, and walk on the ocean floor, he is a character that kids will enjoy spending time with. Each spread in Nina shows a scenario in which the child is angry. She is frustrated "when you don't let me help…" and proves to her mother that she really can change the baby's diaper. She is annoyed when "You don't know what I like." ("I hate fish!") Of course, it's not her fault she can't get her clothes on fast and correctly. It's not her fault that mom forgets her promises. It's not her fault that her parents make her go to bed so early she can't see the show she wants to. If only parents realized how hard it is to be a kid. Knight's charming illustrations evoke the plethora of emotions Nina endures as she tries to get her parents' attention. In the end, though, her mother comes through. Nina's strong and lovable personality is reminiscent of Eloise (also illustrated by Knight), Ramona, and Judy Moody.—Carol Hirsche, Provo City Library, UT
Kirkus Reviews

A young child presents a catalogue of timeless irritations and injustices in a 1976 outing with art and text lightly massaged and reformatted for newly independent readers.

From "When I do something nice and no one cares..." or "When you get mad at ME and I didn't do it..." to "When I NEED you and you make me WAIT..." Nina's complaints range from actual injustice to self-absorbed whining and so have near-universal applicability. Each general grievance is paired to a specific incident detailed in comic-book–style panels on the facing page, such as a painting that distracted parents don't praise properly, a promise of ice cream that doesn't pan out, a playmate who abruptly runs off with someone else or clothing that just won't go on the right way. Fresh and buoyant despite the old-style television or occasional other period detail, Knight's art places Nina—short haired, dressed in overalls and looking androgynous, in contrast to the girlier figure that Christine Davenier made of her in a 2002 edition (published as That Makes Me Mad)—between siblings in a comfortably domestic setting. He captures her feelings in a broad range of wonderfully expressive body language ranging from hunched-shoulder, irritated frowns to melodramatic sprawls. Aposthumous publication for Kroll; Knight is still going strong and working on an autobiography.

A little parental TLC finally calms the storm, as it usually does. (Graphic early reader. 6-8)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781935179108
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 9/27/2011
  • Series: Toon Series
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 594,582
  • Age range: 4 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Hilary Knight
Steven Kroll wrote nearly a hundred books for children. He said, "When I'm working on a book, I see the pictures as I write the words. How fortunate that the illustrators of my books have all seen what I've seen and have captured the magic I wish to share."

Hilary Knight is the son of two accomplished artist-writers, Clayton Knight and Katherine Sturges. Hilary Knight came into his own enormous success by illustrating Kay Thompson's Eloise series, which has been a cultural touchstone for generations. He is the author-illustrator of nine children's books and the illustrator of more than fifty others. He has also produced many magazine illustrations, record album covers, and posters for Broadway musicals.


Hilary Knight's career as a children's illustrator changed forever when he was introduced to Kay Thompson, who had an idea for a book about a six-year-old girl she had made up as a sort of alter ego. Knight sent Thompson a Christmas card with a drawing; the two cloistered themselves in a room at the Plaza, and Eloise was born. Her 1955 debut was a smash.

Knight has been in the press as Eloise's de facto representative since Thompson passed on in 1998 and her titles were freed for republication. But his contribution to children's literature is vaster, and his talent for creating evocative, singular illustrations is peerless. His work on Betty MacDonald's Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series in the late 1940s, for example, was another case of his creating images that became inextricable from the stories; so much so that when Maurice Sendak took over the job for one Mrs. Piggle Wiggle title (Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Farm, 1954), even that legendary illustrator's work seemed somehow unsatisfying. Knight had already left his imprint on the job with the flowing lines that had brought the story to life, seemingly drawn by MacDonald's words themselves.

In the MacDonald books, Knight lent his drawings of oval-faced, pixie-ish characters a certain ethereal quality, so that they often appear to be floating or vibrating. He accomplished the same conveyance of mood for the Eloise books, giving everything – especially the stringy-haired, peripatetic Eloise -- a sense of swanlike exuberance. It was with the Eloise titles that Knight had an opportunity to expand his art's relationship to a story; and the detail and scope evident in those books is often breathtaking and delightful. His work for other authors, including the The I Hate to Cook Book by Peg Bracken (for adults) and Sunday Morning by Judith Viorst, shows his versatility.

Though he has primarily been known as an illustrator for other writers, Knight has also had sole billing on a few titles of his own. The best known of these is Where's Wallace, featuring an orangutan antecedent to Waldo, and it's an excellent example of Knight's ability to create a virtual circus (or, in this case, zoo) on the page. He has also revived classics such as Cinderella, The Owl and the Pussycat, and The Twelve Days of Christmas, all of which show a softer, more textured style than in his other books. His work is always magical and alluring.

Good To Know

Eloise's visual inspiration was from a painting that Knight's mother did in the 1930s. He had plenty of encouragement: He told Barnes &, "I started as a craftsman in my early teens -- family friends were trapped into buying jewelry, paintings, and 'objects' even before they got to the safety of our living room."

Eloise has a sort of doppelganger in Ian Falconer's irrepressible pig, Olivia. His Olivia and its sequels earned a coveted book blurb/blessing from Knight: "Eloise has met her match! We love Olivia!"

Knight's parents, Clayton Knight and Katherine Sturges, were successful illustrators also. Knight attended art school but his studies were interrupted by World War II, and he enlisted in the Navy. After almost two years of service, he began working as a magazine illustrator.

The origin of Eloise's dog Weenie, according to Knight in a 1999 Newsday article, came from one of Thompson's notes on the story that she gave to Knight before he began work on it. "I was intrigued by pugs long before Eloise. Kay gave me a piece of paper that read, 'I have a dog that looks like a cat,' and my original drawing was neither dog nor cat. It obviously wasn't right. Just about then the Duchess of Windsor began collecting pugs - at that point the Windsors were taken seriously as arbiters of fashion."

Well into his 70s, Knight says he is "still standing, with a pen in my hand." He reserves special admiration for fellow artist and renowned cariacaturist Al Hirshfeld: "[He] is my inspiration and should be to everyone. Here is a man at 100 whose work is consistently terrific."

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    1. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 1, 1926
    2. Place of Birth:
      Long Island, New York
    1. Education:
      Studied at the Art Student's League and the New York School of Interior Design

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