Unstoppable Me

Farrar. Jul. 2019. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780374307387.
PreS-Gr 1–Starring a boy who leaps out of bed to the words “I am movement, heat, static electricity, fueled by food, powered by play,” this book attempts to showcase the ways in which highly energetic children can be celebrated instead of corrected. Instead of seeing the boy’s artwork as a mess created by an ill-timed headbutt, it’s a unique rebuilt masterpiece. Joyner’s exuberant illustrations capture the boy’s perpetual motion and zest for life. There is a definite need for books of this ilk, focusing on the wonderful, wacky, and super-charged lives of kinesthetic learners. Frustratingly, Verde’s language is a little abstract and adult for her audience. She uses phrases like “environmentally friendly, no batteries required, no coal, no oil, just a little water to keep my engine running,” instead of bolder, more onomatopoetic words that would engage kids who see themselves in the main character. The book ends on, “Use what I’ve got and you could light up the world!’ with an image of a child-sized flash mob in the street.
VERDICT Parents and teachers of “kids who just can’t sit still” like Joyner’s own (she provides an author’s note at the end explaining her perspective) will likely find humor and camaraderie in the story, but actual energetic children will appreciate books that allow them to be involved in the story, to jump, play, and showcase their unique and awesome abilities

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