KIRKUS REVIEW, Feb. 1, 2009
I CAN DO IT MYSELF!
Emily Pearl is just big enough to terrorize the household with her can-do attitude: “And if just for one second her mom tries to help, / Emily says, ‘I can do it myself!’ ” As in this simple refrain, approximate and exact rhymes roll rhythmically along while Hayashi’s watercolor, pen and colored-pencil art tells the real story. The text treats Emily as if she were the big girl she thinks she is, while the illustrations reveal a loving environment where a wise (and sometimes exasperated) mother allows her confident daughter to learn. Emily begins pouring herself juice through a funnel into a glass, uses a toilet-paper roll and clothespins to curl her hair, plays trombone upside down, delivers cat food on the back of her fast-moving remote-control car, until bedtime, when the shadows fall and she welcomes Mom’s hug and a good story. The interplay between art and text will work well for the group reader who can enjoy the spontaneous giggles that will erupt at storytime or for one-on-one in-the-lap fun. (Picture book. 2-5)
“It takes a dinosaur-themed roller coaster to show a kid that he has the right stuff. After passing muster with the "You must be this tall" sign, the young hero climbs aboard—albeit more reluctantly than his eager dad (who, in typical goofy dad fashion, is wearing socks with his sandals). In Luthardt's (Larabee) paintings, however, the duo undergoes a mien switch after the coaster's first big drop. For the text, "Sailing at the speed of sound./ Zooming, racing toward the ground," Dad gets an "anywhere but here" look on his face, while his son responds with the wide grins and arms-over-head posture of an aficionado. Newcomer Adams' story unspools in singsongy couplets with plenty of heavy-duty action words ("Lurching, tilting up again/ Jerking, rumbling round the bend"). …Luthardt’s amusement-park palette and boldly geometric acrylics pop with energy, and he's particularly good at capturing the swooping black track. …it's a triumph that youngsters won't mind reliving several times over.”