Monday, July 10, 2023

Star review from Booklist

 image.png SOMETIMES I KAPLOOM by Rachel Vail; Illus. by Hyewon Yum 

Aug. 2023. 40p. Scholastic/Orchard, $18.99 (9781338840308). PreS–Gr. 1 


Vail and Yum have here created a helpful book for parents and children dealing with separation anxiety. Climbing high on playground equipment, making an effort to eat new foods, and going to bed with only one nightlight and “without even calling to be checked on. Except once . . . maybe twice” are a few of the feats Katie performs as she practices being brave. When her mother prepares to leave her at preschool one morning, the girl’s attempts at bravery fail completely and she goes “KAPLOOM.” A fierce, full-blown tantrum takes over as Katie loses control, screaming, pulling at her hair, and hanging onto her mother. The girl dislikes feeling and behaving in this manner, but her emotions are difficult to control. Colored-pencil illustrations on white backgrounds clearly show Katie’s emotions when she is brave and when she is kaplooming. Her anguish and frustration are clearly conveyed with wide-open mouths, clenched fists, tightly shut eyes, and red faces, along with lightning bolts shooting from her body. The youngster’s anger and sadness slowly dissipate after her mother gently reassures her—“I’ll come back. I always come back.”—and explains it is possible to be “brave and sad” and “brave and scared” at the same time. Notes from the author and illustrator explain their experiences with their own children’s separation anxiety. — Maryann Owen




Comfort for both children and parents in an all-too-familiar situation.

It’s hard to stay brave when it’s time to say goodbye.

Katie Honors, whom readers may remember from Sometimes I Grumblesquinch (2022), is back. This time, she explains that she is a “really brave kid.” She stands proudly “like a superhero,” climbs high on the playground, and needs to be checked on at night only once…or twice. She can even hold in her tears when it’s time to say goodbye at what looks like preschool…at first. Yum’s familiar and comforting colored pencil drawings portray the inner emotions that belie Katie’s brave front as she says, “Bye, I love you. See you soon,” her face radiating pure misery and the cheery yellow star on her T-shirt drooping. Sometimes, however, she can’t contain those feelings and she KAPLOOMS. With her eyes squeezed shut, she grabs her mother, lets out a roar, and radiates lightning and sparks. She becomes unable to hear the voices around her. Her mother initially asks her to be brave but then changes tactics, simply holding Katie and acknowledging that bravery and sadness, tears, and fear are not exclusive—that you can be “brave and KAPLOOMING” at the same time. Her loving actions model a healthy response for adults and also validate children’s feelings during this rite of passage. Katie and her mother have straight dark hair, light skin, and dark dots for eyes. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Comfort for both children and parents in an all-too-familiar situation. (author’s and illustrator’s notes) (Picture book. 3-7)