Reviews for Giant Crush

Booklist Reviews 2011 December #1
Childhood crushes can happen anytime, but rarely so keenly than on Valentine's Day, when elementary kids are often urged to make valentines for everyone in the class. Jackson, a taller-than-average bunny who is self-conscious about his size, tries to keep his crush a secret, but his wise friend Cooper knows something is up and tries to help gently, without making him spill the beans: "If you're going to like a girl, Jackson, you have to at least tell her." A few blushes, an extra-large valentine, and a soccer game for two later, Cami and Jackson have figured out that they do, in fact, like each other, although appropriately for the elementary crowd, Cami makes clear: "I do not have a boyfriend." The watercolor, gouache, and mixed-media illustrations feature appealing young rabbits of varying colors in an everyschool, with student art on the classroom walls and classmates teasing each other on the playground. A Valentine's Day story about cute bunnies has the potential to be saccharine sweet, but this one hits just the right note. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Spring
Worried that Cami will reject him because he's tall, bunny Jackson anonymously leaves her flowers and candy. The enormous Valentine's Day card he makes tips her (and rival Carter Corey) off, to Cami's delight. Sweet's charming mixed-media illustrations featuring rabbit characters will draw readers into this lovey-dovey Valentine's tale.

Kirkus Reviews 2011 December #1
Newbery Honoree Choldenko (Al Capone Does My Shirts, 2004) and Caldecott Honoree Sweet (A River of Words: The Story of Williams Carlos Williams, written by Jen Bryant, 2008) combine talents to tell the appealing tale of Jackson, a rather large rabbit, who is struggling with the often embarrassing, nerve-racking and exhilarating feelings of his first crush. Valentine's Day is coming, and Jackson's friend Cooper notices Jackson is acting differently: He stuffs a special valentine with chocolates, brings a flower to school that then disappears and worries that rival Carter is cute classmate Cami's boyfriend. As narrator Cooper learns what is troubling his buddy, the bright-hued mixed-media pictures effectively capture the nuances of the interpersonal dynamics at play. Readers feel Jackson's flushed cheeks turning "red as a wrong-answer pencil" and relate to his hands-on-head anxiety when Cami receives his valentine. Setting this apart from other holiday fare is the friendship between Jackson and Cooper. When Carter taunts Jackson by calling him a giant, all Cooper sees is a good pal lacking confidence to listen to his heart. Cooper encourages Jackson to be brave; the result is a lovely "two-person soccer [game]"…played "all recess long." Share this along with the author's previous titles: How to Make Friends with a Giant, illustrated by Amy Walrod (2006), and Louder, Lili, illustrated by S.D. Schindler (2007). Each addresses issues that affect self-esteem in a gentle, entertaining way. (Picture book. 4-7) Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 November #4

Newbery Honor author Choldenko touches on themes from her earlier picture books--shyness (Louder, Lili) and being too tall or short (How to Make Friends with a Giant)--in this story about Jackson, the rabbit with the titular giant crush. Narration comes from Jackson's unnamed best friend, who watches as Jackson's budding feelings for a fellow student, Cami, are overshadowed by the antics of a loud-mouthed, attention-stealing classmate. With some encouragement from his friend ("If you're going to like a girl, Jackson, you have to at least tell her"), Jackson makes his move, and it pays off. Both Choldenko's spot-on playground dialogue and Sweet's characteristically loose and lighthearted mixed-media artwork show an abundance of empathy (and a dash of humor) when it comes to matters of the heart. Ages 5-8. (Dec.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2011 November

K-Gr 3--Jackson, a young rabbit, has a giant crush on Cami, a bunny in his class, but he's too shy to tell her he likes her. Instead, he leaves her a flower, candy, and a giant valentine. But when another boy also seems taken with her, Jackson suffers a crisis of confidence, until his best friend sets him straight. This sweet story addresses crushes in grade school terms, with the focus ultimately on the friendship of the two boys, which gives Jackson the wherewithal to pick up on Cami's cues, and they "play two-person soccer all recess long." Sweet's watercolor, gouache, and mixed-media illustrations are sunny and expressive, and bring the characters and their world to life. The lighthearted pictures are a perfect match for the breezy text.--Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, MD

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