Friday, August 11, 2023

review from Shelf Awareness


SOMETIMES I KAPLOOM by Rachel Vail, illus. by Hyewon Yum (Orchard Books; August 1, 2023) was reviewed in the August 11, 2023 edition ofShelf Awareness.


Please see below and attached for the full review.


Sometimes I Kaploom

by Rachel Vail, illus. by Hyewon Yum


Prolific author Rachel Vail published Sometimes I'm Bombaloo in 2002, starring charmingly articulate Katie Honors. It became the first book in her Big Feelings series, with the publication of companion picture book Sometimes I Grumblesquinch following in 2022. Vail auspiciously partners again with her Grumblesquinch collaborator, Hyewon Yum, for Sometimes I Kaploom, a delightful reminder that being courageous doesn't mean you're not afraid.

Self-aware Katie knows she's "a really brave kid": she has a superhero stance, can climb high, risks small bites of "good for me food," and goes to bed "without even calling to be checked on" (more than twice). At school, however, she sometimes kaplooms. Saying "bye, I love you. See you soon" to her mother isn't always possible: "The roar inside me is so huge I have to open my mouth and let it out." Katie realizes, as she calms in her mother's lap, that she can be "brave and KAPLOOMING" at the same time. "So brave," her mother agrees, "especially while you KAPLOOM."

Yum's vibrant colored-pencil illustrations notably enhance Vail's encouraging, empowering narrative. Yum ingeniously turns Katie's t-shirt into a visual metaphor for Katie's feelings. The star on her shirt is an emotional barometer: its bright outlines disappear when Katie confronts "tingly smelling" breakfast, the star droops at the prospect of parental separation, becomes electrified as she kaplooms, and gains a rainbow trail as she recovers back to her superhero self. Vail ensures big feelings are thoroughly acknowledged; Yum's art assures Vail's words get empathically recognized. --Terry Hong, BookDragon

Orchard Books, $18.99, hardcover, 40p., 9781338840308