Award-winning illustrator Daniel Gray-Barnett, whose work has been featured by the likes of The Boston Globe and The New York Times, brings his usual expressive and fun style to this heartwarming tale about the connection between a son and mother and a journey towards independence.
Praise for Pocket Chaotic
''A humorous invitation to embrace change and move on''. -- Kirkus
''Pops of golden yellow dominate the watercolor, ink, and pencil illustrations of this tongue-in-cheek story about helping children embrace their independence''. -- Foreword Reviews
''An original, funny and heartwarming picture book tale about a connection between a mother and son that will ring true for many children especially in these uncertain times''. -- Midwest Book Review
''A clever little readaloud. Hand this one to a parent trying desperately to get their 25-year-old out of the basement''.
-- Fuse 8, School Library Journal
''There is so much to look and giggle at in this book''.
-- Youth Services Book Review
''An amusing tale (tail?) with sprightly illustrations that is great to read out loud and may encourage little ones to explore their independence in new environments''. -- The AOI
''Enjoy this exuberant, warm story and share the neon illustrations with little ones wanting independence, yet not quite ready to really let go''. -- Armadillo Children's Magazine
Alexander’s mom keeps putting stuff in her pocket and it’s driving him crazy!
A young kangaroo called Alexander lives in his mom, Nancy’s pocket. Alexander loves his mom, but there’s one thing she does that really drives him nuts. She is always putting stuff in her pocket. Alexander tries to keep things neat, but the more he tidies, the more stuff she shoves in there. When he complains, his sister calls him a baby – it’s time to leave the pouch anyway. But Alexander loves it in there – it’s warm and cosy and smells of mom.
Then one day, it gets really bad. Twelve bobby pins, a tube of toothpaste, a bottle of water, a packet of chewing gum, two bus tickets, some keys, a toy car and a cookbook all find their way into Nancy’s pouch. And that’s just for starters. Finally, Alexander’s had enough. ‘I can’t take it any more!’ he shouts. ‘I’m moving out!’ So Alexander moves into the room next to his sister’s. They make it all cosy, with a furry blanket and shelves for all his stuff. So it’s just like his mom’s pouch. Almost. The penultimate spread is Alexander sleeping with all his stuff strewn around him. The final spread is Nancy clearing out her pocket with a wink. It was time for Alexander to go.
'Amusing illustrations, rendered with fluid, black brush strokes and a snappy, eye-catching, orange-dominated palette, effectively capture all the turmoil, unrest, and chaos of Alexander’s life in Mum’s bulging pouch. Double-page spreads of Alexander fruitlessly wrangling an endless array of diverse objects present a convincing argument for his eventual progression from pouch into the next phase of his young life. A humorous invitation to embrace change and move on'. -- Kirkus
'Pops of golden yellow dominate the watercolor, ink, and pencil illustrations of this tongue-in-cheek story about helping children embrace their independence.' -- Foreword Reviews
'"The Pocket Chaotic" by the team of author/storyteller Ziggy Hanaor and artist/illustrator Daniel Gray-Barnett is an original, funny and heartwarming picture book tale about a connection between a mother and son (and his journey towards independence), that will ring true for many children especially in these uncertain times. A thoroughly 'kid friendly' and entertaining read, "The Pocket Chaotic" is a very highly recommended addition to family, daycare centre, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 3-6'
-- Midwest Book Review
'Don’t get him wrong, Alexander loves his mom, but why does she stuff her pouch full of junk? Is she incredibly messy or is there an ulterior motive at play? A clever little readaloud. This reminded me a lot of classic kangaroo stories like Katy No-Pocket or (the far more similar) Joey Runs Away. I was very impressed that both the author and the artist managed to keep from giving away the mom’s intentions until that very last page. Hand this one to a parent trying desperately to get their 25-year-old out of the basement'. -- Fuse 8, School Library Journal
'A whimsical story about parents and children evolves, with a special and fun message that kids will appreciate'. -- Donovan's Literary Services
'This is such an adorable book -- one that I want to add to my personal library, too! The cute remarks from the kangaroo's mother spoke directly to this mama's heart!' -- Net Galley
'A charming and well-crafted picture book story about Alexander, a joey who lives in his kangaroo mother Nancy's pocket, his quest for order and tidiness, and his ultimate independence. There's a lot to discuss here with themes of organisation, self-reliance and living with other people. With vibrant and florescent illustrations, this is a great book for reluctant readers in year 1, and also to read to classes in KS1, particularly at the start of a new school year'. -- School Reading List
'From the witty title, to the delightful endpapers, The Pocket Chaotic is a charming story about becoming independent and growing up. The long list of items that Alexander finds in the pouch are great fun to read aloud, and the witty illustrations caused me to laugh out loud more than once. Adult readers will wonder, is mom Nancy Machiavellian, or just messy? Either way, The Pocket Chaotic is both entertaining and comforting. That’s a neat (ha!) trick.'
-- Mr. Alex's Bookshelf '
I loved this adorable story! It is completely hilarious from start to finish, and I loved every page! The illustrations add so much to the humor of the story! The funny expressions on the characters' faces are just perfection. I love the crayon art style, and the neon bright colors are sure to capture your attention'.
-- Luminous Libro
'We often get picture books where the kid has to get their act together, but how often are we treated to a hapless parent? The illustrations (shout-out to 1944’s Katy No-Pocket by Emmy Payne with illustrations by H.A. Rey) are delightful. The family lives in a people-world (England? Nancy is called his “mum” and it’s a British publishing house) with colorful, orderly shops and fantasy pockets (with room for laddered shelving units). The kangaroos are all neon orange and are rendered in slightly messy, scribbly watercolors. There is so much to look and giggle at in this book. If you have fond memories of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle’s cures, in which parents engage in subterfuge to bring about behavioral change, you’ll appreciate this book. This is also a light-hearted look at the serious topic of growing up and taking steps to independence, recognizing that the process can be uncomfortable at first!' -- YS Book Reviews
'A book about becoming independent for the first time, The Pocket Chaotic acknowledges that there is a time when little ones start to feel that they need more than the cosy safety of home. Being snug in mum’s pocket is lovely for the little joey until he starts to get too big and need his own space – and mum needs a bit of space for her life, too. This stylish book with a relatable story is a joy for children and adults alike. The beautiful illustrations use muted tones with pops of neon orange, mixing gentle watercolour and bold strokes. Each page features just a sentence or two, which are occasionally set out playfully across the page, adding fun and drama'. -- BookTrust
'Enjoy this exuberant, warm story and share the neon illustrations little ones wanting independence, yet not quite ready to really let go'.
-- Armadillo Children's Magazine
'The Pocket Chaotic is a playful, heart-warming story of a journey towards independence. @cicadabooks, Ziggy Hanaor & Daniel Gray-Barnett work wonders with a life skill we want to instill in young children, but doesn't often feature in books'. -- The Value's Bookshelf
'Delightful illustrations bring the kangaroos to life and there’s a lovely lesson about the inevitability of growing up – but not being as scary as you think. A quirky tale to enjoy throughout the year!' -- The Book Activist
'This one tugged all my maternal heartstrings as it explores an adorable mother-child relationship and the pushing of boundaries towards independence. Disclaimer: Daniel Gray-Barnett is one of my very fave illustrators so I basically love anything he does'. -- Oh Creative Day