This pink hat’s tale won’t inform young feminists in great detail, but its light take on a social movement could spark...

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THE PINK HAT

Pink hats emerged as a cultural phenomenon in early 2017, as the Women’s March on Washington and in locations nationwide drew widespread attention.

This simple, fictional treatment of one pink hat shows its transformation from a cap knitted by a woman of a certain age (an earlier-wave feminist?) to a cat’s toy to a snug wrapper for an infant to a dog’s plaything. Eventually, its use reverts to a hat, found, washed, and worn by a young black-haired girl of indeterminate ethnicity. She ultimately wears it in a march along with dozens of other pink-hatted girls and women (and a few boys and men), toting signs reading “Girl Power,” “The Future Is Feminist,” and other familiar slogans from that day. Black-and-white line drawings with a retro look are punctuated by the bright fuchsia hat; this sole pop of color on each page draws focus to the inanimate starring “character.” There is no mention of the actual origin of the hat’s significance as a reminder of what one presidential candidate bragged about grabbing during the 2016 campaign. The hat’s role as a rallying symbol for women’s and human rights is underplayed except for the closing spread. A very brief note cites the January 2017 marches but makes no explicit connection to the pink hat.

This pink hat’s tale won’t inform young feminists in great detail, but its light take on a social movement could spark conversation. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5247-7226-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2017

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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Banal affirmation buoyed by charming illustrations.

I BELIEVE I CAN

Diversity is the face of this picture book designed to inspire confidence in children.

Fans of Byers and Bobo’s I Am Enough (2018) will enjoy this book that comes with a universal message of self-acceptance. A line of children practices ballet at the barre; refreshingly, two of the four are visibly (and adorably) pudgy. Another group tends a couple of raised beds; one of them wears hijab. Two more children coax a trepidatious friend down a steep slide. Further images, of children pretending to be pirates, dragons, mimes, playing superhero and soccer, and cooking, are equally endearing, but unfortunately they don’t add enough heft to set the book apart from other empowerment books for children. Though the illustrations shine, the text remains pedagogic and bland. Clichés abound: “When I believe in myself, there’s simply nothing I can’t do”; “Sometimes I am right, and sometimes I am wrong. / But even when I make mistakes, I learn from them to make me strong.” The inclusion of children with varying abilities, religions, genders, body types, and racial presentations creates an inviting tone that makes the book palatable. It’s hard to argue with the titular sentiment, but this is not the only book of its ilk on the shelf.

Banal affirmation buoyed by charming illustrations. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-266713-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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