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  • Writer's pictureR.C. Chizhov

A sunny tale with a convincing message ~ Kirkus Reviews

Updated: Sep 7, 2022

Humbled to receive this review from Kirkus:

"After losing a competition, an emu decides not to participate in games anymore in Chizhov’s picture book.

Whenever a ponytailed emu’s friends invite her to play with them, she demurs, saying, “Nope, nope!” and coming up with excuses. She was once a champion in wing-flapping contests, but another emu beat her score, which affected her

confidence. When the emu sees monkeys, puppies, and spiders failing at activities but not giving up, she’s inspired to try her hand at competing again. After she comes in first, she resolves to give every game her best shot. Chizhov straightforwardly drives home a message of succeeding through practice in repeated, rhyming phrases: “In many ways, she tried to win, / and kept at it, not giving in.” The emu’s protests that some things seem too difficult are repeated, too, but other animals’ optimism effectively overwhelms her negative attitude. Yezhela’s full-color cartoon emus wear clothing and sport fancy hairstyles; other animals are more realistic, but still have cartoonish facial expressions, and a female spider has eyelashes. The landscapes resemble Candy Land more than the Australian Outback, with brightly colored houses and green grass alongside desert and beach settings. Overall, this upbeat art style helps to reinforce the optimistic theme, despite feeling a bit over the top.

A sunny tale with a convincing message to keep trying."


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