Review of Don’t Blow Your Top!

Don’t Blow Your Top! Don’t Blow Your Top!
by Ame Dyckman; illus. by Abhi Alwar
Preschool, Primary    Orchard/Scholastic    40 pp.
10/23    9781338837841    $17.99
Paper ed.  9781339036625    $7.99

Two bright green volcanoes, one big and one little, live happily in a tropical paradise until: “Something unexpected happened.” A bird accidentally drops a coconut on Little Volcano. “Would Little Volcano…BLOW THEIR TOP?” Big Volcano gently reminds Little Volcano how to calm themself down: deep breathing, counting to five, thinking happy thoughts—“it worked!” And then the bird returns and drops two unexpected coconuts. Overwhelmed, Little Volcano forgets all about deep breathing and counting. “KABOOOOOOOM!” After the ash and lava settle, Little Volcano feels sorry and Big Volcano is empathetically reassuring: “Sometimes it happens.” Dyckman’s (How Dinosaurs Went Extinct, rev. 3/23, and others) warm-hearted story stars two surprisingly relatable landform characters. Big Volcano’s understanding reaction to Little Volcano’s outburst is a good reminder to young humans and their caregivers that, when meltdowns happen, a steady, loving presence can help restore equilibrium. Alwar’s animated digital illustrations give the expressive volcanoes lots of personality. Vibrant saturated colors and thick outlines bring energy to the offbeat tale. At the end, when Big Volcano is hit with three airdropped coconuts and is in danger of kabooming, a calm and regulated Little Volcano helps keeps the peace in paradise.

From the November/December 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Kitty Flynn
Kitty Flynn is consulting editor for The Horn Book, Inc.

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