Though well meaning, this circle is a bit broken.


A circle grows larger and more inclusive.

Children—diverse in gender, skin tone, ethnicity, hairstyle and color, and physical ability—meet while playing, initially separately, in the park. What unites them is engagement with round things: toys (ball, balloons, Frisbees, hula hoops); playground equipment; wheeled items (bike, wheelchair); and other circular objects (bubbles, cookies). The group expands in size and fun. After the kids clasp hands to form a literal circle, one child observes that a newcomer (with a dog) has just arrived. Guess who completes the friendship ring? This ode to kindness and a welcoming spirit is cheerful and textually minimal, focusing on number words one to 10, active verbs, and the words circle or circles in boldfaced larger type. Lively ink illustrations feature smiling children enjoying one another’s company and also, notably, being mutually helpful. One child uses a wheelchair and is fairly actively engaged in play; another wears hearing aids; a third, eyeglasses. Unfortunately, some illustrations suffer from a lack of clarity. On the first spread, captioned “One circle,” for instance, the verso shows a basketball, the recto, a bike. Kids would likely describe the bike’s wheels as round, therefore rightly claiming the spread includes three circles; the subsequent spread features the basketball and bike with the caption “Two circles”—but, arguably, again three circles. And so on. These interpretations may lead to conversation or frustration.

Though well meaning, this circle is a bit broken. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-62354-152-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride.


The Pigeon is on an emotional—and physical—roller coaster.

Since learning about the existence of roller coasters, he’s become giddy with excitement. The Pigeon prepares mentally: He’ll need a ticket and “exemplary patience” to wait in line. He envisions zooming up and down and careening through dizzying turns and loops. Then, he imagines his emotions afterward: exhilaration, post-ride blues, pride at having accomplished such a feat, and enthusiasm at the prospect of riding again. (He’ll also feel dizzy and nauseous.) All this before the Pigeon ever sets claw on an actual coaster. So…will he really try it? Are roller coasters fun? When the moment comes, everything seems to go according to plan: waiting in line, settling into the little car, THEN—off he goes! Though the ride itself isn’t quite what the Pigeon expected, it will delight readers. Wearing his feelings on his wing and speaking directly to the audience in first person, the Pigeon describes realistic thoughts and emotions about waiting and guessing about the unknown—common childhood experiences. No sentiment is misplaced; kids will relate to Pigeon’s eagerness and apprehension. The ending falls somewhat flat, but the whole humorous point is that an underwhelming adventure can still be thrilling enough to warrant repeating. Willems’ trademark droll illustrations will have readers giggling. The roller-coaster attendant is light-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Roller-coaster enthusiasts or not, children will eagerly join our intrepid hero on this entertaining ride. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4549-4686-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A winning tale about finding new friends.


Bear finds a wonderful toy.

Bear clearly loves the toy bunny that he has found sitting up against a tree in the forest, but he wants to help it return to its home. With a wagon full of fliers and the bunny secure in Bear’s backpack, he festoons the trees with posters and checks out a bulletin board filled with lost and found objects (some of which will bring a chuckle to adult readers). Alas, he returns home still worried about bunny. The following day, they happily play together and ride Bear’s tricycle. Into the cozy little picture steps Moose, who immediately recognizes his bunny, named Floppy. Bear has a tear in his eye as he watches Moose and Floppy hug. But Moose, wearing a tie, is clearly grown and knows that it is time to share and that Bear will take very good care of his Floppy. Yoon’s story is sweet without being sentimental. She uses digitized artwork in saturated colors to create a lovely little world for her animals. They are outlined in strong black lines and stand out against the yellows, blues, greens and oranges of the background. She also uses space to great effect, allowing readers to feel the emotional tug of the story.

A winning tale about finding new friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8027-3559-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet