"This charming read-aloud offers readers a peek into the hidden world of a child’s splendid imagination." - School Library Journal
"This playful, eloquent portrayal of childhood imagination celebrating the joy of daydreaming would be a great pick for group storytime." - Booklist
"Ismail’s splashy watercolors plunge readers into Lila’s fantasies, whether she’s howling as her chariot races across the page or she’s terrorizing a city like King Kong--if King Kong had strings attaching his mittens to his coat." - Publishers Weekly
"Vibrant watercolors with loose lines conveying motion and energy are an ideal match for the playful, joyful text. It's hard to imagine this won't be a hit." - Kirkus Reviews
"Ismail acknowledges that boys face social pressures of their own, but this is a girl’s story, and Ismail’s exuberant watercolors beautifully capture her heroine’s energy and doughty spirit." - Publishers Weekly on I'M A GIRL!
"Young readers will giggle over the protagonist's misadventures . . . A rallying cry to be enthusiastically true to oneself." - Kirkus Reviews on I'M A GIRL!
"Lively, loose watercolors give the illustrations a fresh, energetic look, well matched to the young girl’s spirit. A zestful celebration of being true to oneself." - Booklist on I'M A GIRL!
"Ismail presents Rex's dilemma with sympathy, understanding, and a great deal of humor . . . Sweet, funny, and reassuring." - Kirkus Reviews on SPECS FOR REX
"The watercolor illustrations have a breezy, abstract feel that will appeal to nursery school and early elementary school audiences." - School Library Journal on SPECS FOR REX
"[R]eluctantly bespectacled kids should still find Rex’s lighthearted travails reassuring." - Publishers Weekly on SPECS FOR REX
"A perfectly designed read-aloud for the bedtime staller. A sheer delight!" - starred review, Kirkus Reviews on TIME FOR BED, FRED!
"Ismail . . . uses bright, beautiful brush strokes of watercolor to convey the manic, tail-wagging, mud-spattering energy that Fred, a furry black mop of a dog, brings to bedtime." - The New York Times Book Review on TIME FOR BED, FRED!
"Fred’s eager-to-please look and the constant trouble he gets into give this the makings of a bedtime favorite." - Publishers Weekly on TIME FOR BED, FRED!
PreS-Gr 2—Active little Lila the bear is always busy doing something—playing with her shoes instead of putting them on, dillydallying instead of getting ready for school, or making a mess with a cookie. However, when she is asked, "Lila, what are you doing?" her response is always "nothing." But that is far from the truth. Lila uses her imagination to take her on all kinds of fantastic adventures. Spirited and oh so relatable, Lila resembles many children, and she knows how to fill a day with excitement. This book lets adults know what is really happening when children respond with "nothing" when questioned about their day. The text on the pages that show what is actually happening is typed in one font, while the text on the pages depicting Lila's fantasy world is italicized. The illustrations, done in watercolor on a crisp white background, are large and fun, conveying the bear's thrilling escapades. Listeners will be eager to hear what Lila is going to do next and will love that she inspires one particular grown-up to use his imagination as well. VERDICT This charming read-aloud offers readers a peek into the hidden world of a child's splendid imagination.—Amy Shepherd, St. Anne's Episcopal School, Middleton, DE
A slice-of-life story about a little one with a big imagination. Lila's mother tries to usher her out the door to spend some time with Grandpa, but at every step Lila is caught up in her imagination and fails to follow through on her mother's instructions. All the named characters are anthropomorphic bears, and alternating spreads show the real-world interactions between mother and child followed by Lila's pretend-play scenarios, which undermine her obedience. For example, she hasn't put on her shoes because playing with them and their unfurled laces makes her imagine wrestling an octopus (which she calls a monster) under the sea. Cavorting with her coat while balancing atop a stool makes her think of standing on a zebra's back in a circuslike atmosphere. Lila's shenanigans continue while en route to Grandpa, as she chomps a cookie on the train (imagining she's a King-Kong-like creature overpowering the gingerbread man) and speeds off on her scooter ahead of her mother (pretending she's driving a chariot). Grandpa is a playful sort who joins in on her play, and a lovely concluding illustration shows Lila's mother settled on a bench and reading a book, indulging her own imagination through literature. Vibrant watercolors with loose lines conveying motion and energy are an ideal match for the playful, joyful text. It's hard to imagine this won't be a hit. (Picture book. 3-6)