More nice ALFIE reviews!

From Booklist, June 1st issue:
"Picture-book shelves overflow with stories of furious young kids who protest injustice by packing up their essentials (snacks, stuffed animals) and running away, often making it only as far as the backyard before setting up camp. In his debut picture book, Cadow borrows familiar elements, but what feels fresh here is the child’s reason for leaving. Instead of sibling rivalry or the struggle to be heard, it’s young Alfie’s frustration and sorrow over his own growing up that sends him out the door. After his mother tells Alfie to part with a favorite pair of outgrown sneakers, he explodes, announces his departure plans, and assembles his supplies. His gentle, understanding mother helps and even tucks an imaginary hug into his bag. Alone in the backyard, Alfie slowly accepts that his shoes need to go, and in a warm conclusion, finds a new home for them. Young children will easily recognize Alfie’s frustrated feelings of powerlessness, as well as his fears of independence. Castillo’s expressive illustrations sensitively reinforce this tender, reassuring story’s elemental emotions." — Gillian Engberg


From The Horn Book, July/August issue:

"Alfie already has a significant list of grievances-taking baths, making his bed, eating potatoes-so when his mother wants to give away his favorite shoes just because they've gotten a little small, Alfie decides he's had enough. The headstrong emotions of a young runaway are humorously portrayed in the dialogue ("'May I give you a hug?' asked his mother. 'You may let me keep my shoes,' said Alfie") and in the art (Alfie's dignified expression as his mother helps him pack a bag). At his clever mother's suggestion, Alfie takes a lot of supplies; he can't get far with his heavy pack, and, after unloading everything in the backyard, takes off his favorite, too-tight shoes and puts them on his stuffed animal companion, Buddy Bear. With perfect timing-Alfie is just starting to feel homesick-his mom comes out with the welcome-home hug he is looking for. The subdued colors in Castillo's old-fashioned yet unsentimental illustrations highlight the red shoes and match the reassuring, low-key tone of Cadow's text. Alfie himself comes up with the solution-he realizes the shoes will always fit Buddy Bear-that ends this satisfying picture book." — JENNIFER M. BRABANDER