When the duo brush their teeth, the spread has just two words in gigantic type: “MINTY! / BEEFY!” That sums it up: a dog...

READ REVIEW

THE BEST DAYS ARE DOG DAYS

A French bulldog narrates a simple but charming story about the activities of his day with a parallel look at similar behavior by his human companion, Sis.

The dog and the preschool-aged girl are sleeping in bed together as the day dawns, with ribbons of ZZZZs entwined around them to emphasize their somnolent state. Bold, stylized illustrations in neon-bright colors use simple shapes, varied type treatments, and creative labeling to show the differences and similarities in the actions of canine and child. Some spreads illustrate the dog and girl meeting needs in similar but slightly different ways (breakfast or bathtime). In others, both enjoy the same feeling or experience in the same way (such as getting soaked in a fountain or chasing a squirrel). The placement of the girl on left-hand pages and the dog on the right works effectively with the spare, structured text, allowing young preschoolers to see clearly what is alike and what is different with this devoted pair of pals. There’s a surprising amount of drama and humor packed in just a few pages, including a potty break for Sis with her mom and a gently funny stop at a handy tree for the dog. Sis and her parents appear white, but there are children of color playing in the park.

When the duo brush their teeth, the spread has just two words in gigantic type: “MINTY! / BEEFY!” That sums it up: a dog story with a fresh approach and something with solid flavor to chew on. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-525-42817-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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A sweet cetacean story.

THE HEART OF A WHALE

The flora and fauna of the ocean respond to a lonely whale’s beautiful music by helping him find another whale.

“Whale’s song was so beautiful it could reach the farthest of faraways.” Over a double-page spread, a simply drawn white whale—detailed with a large eye, a small mouth and fins, and a small lavender heart—swims past a variety of pastel-hued sea denizens. The lyrical text is set in type that emulates hand-lettering. Watercolors are the appropriate choice for a tale that occurs in a sea full of creatures—with an occasional glimpse of land and sky as well as a cheerfully colored sailboat and lighthouse. Collage, pencil sketching, and washes produce a dreamlike effect that also feels sweetly humorous. A double-page spread of sea horses lounging atop spirited jellyfish is especially whimsical. Musical terms are cleverly used to describe the singing whale’s positive effects on others (“a cheerful symphony for a sad urchin”). After several pages of poetic lines about the talented singer, readers learn that his heart feels “empty.” The ocean carries his sighing wish across miles of lovingly rendered sea habitats until the solo becomes a duet. Although the flap copy speaks of friendship, even the youngest of readers will sense that this is a whale of a romance. Beneath its warmth is a poignant reminder of the loss to all if whale songs become history.

A sweet cetacean story. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-984-83627-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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