Silvestro and Chen take a common figure of speech and transform it, literally, into a lovely expression of a universal...

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BUTTERFLIES ON THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL

Rosie has been looking forward to the first day of school for a month, practicing writing her letters and raising her hand. But the night before the big day, she begins to have second thoughts.

“I don’t feel well,” she says the next morning. “You just have butterflies in your belly,” her mother replies with a hug. And sure enough, when a girl on the school bus asks her name, a butterfly escapes from Rosie’s mouth along with the answer. Rosie’s trepidation about new experiences tugs on readers’ hearts, but as the butterflies that only she can see are released every time she participates in class, her expressions grow more confident and joyful. Finally, Rosie uses her new confidence to help another classmate who looks like she has a belly full of butterflies as well. Colorful illustrations depict children of varying skin tones with surprisingly expressive round black eyes; Rosie and her family present subtly Asian. Young readers who are worried about school will find a reassuring way to put their feelings into words, and the warm ending gives a wink to caregivers who may also find themselves feeling nervous about the first day of school.

Silvestro and Chen take a common figure of speech and transform it, literally, into a lovely expression of a universal experience. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2119-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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A valuable asset to the library of a child who experiences anxiety and a great book to get children talking about their...

RUBY FINDS A WORRY

Ruby is an adventurous and happy child until the day she discovers a Worry.

Ruby barely sees the Worry—depicted as a blob of yellow with a frowny unibrow—at first, but as it hovers, the more she notices it and the larger it grows. The longer Ruby is affected by this Worry, the fewer colors appear on the page. Though she tries not to pay attention to the Worry, which no one else can see, ignoring it prevents her from enjoying the things that she once loved. Her constant anxiety about the Worry causes the bright yellow blob to crowd Ruby’s everyday life, which by this point is nearly all washes of gray and white. But at the playground, Ruby sees a boy sitting on a bench with a growing sky-blue Worry of his own. When she invites the boy to talk, his Worry begins to shrink—and when Ruby talks about her own Worry, it also grows smaller. By the book’s conclusion, Ruby learns to control her Worry by talking about what worries her, a priceless lesson for any child—or adult—conveyed in a beautifully child-friendly manner. Ruby presents black, with hair in cornrows and two big afro-puff pigtails, while the boy has pale skin and spiky black hair.

A valuable asset to the library of a child who experiences anxiety and a great book to get children talking about their feelings . (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0237-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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An unfortunately simplistic delivery of a well-intentioned message.

I'LL WALK WITH YOU

Drawing on lyrics from her Mormon children’s hymn of the same title, Pearson explores diversity and acceptance in a more secular context.

Addressing people of varying ages, races, origins, and abilities in forced rhymes that omit the original version’s references to Jesus, various speakers describe how they—unlike “some people”—will “show [their] love for” their fellow humans. “If you don’t talk as most people do / some people talk and laugh at you,” a child tells a tongue-tied classmate. “But I won’t! / I won’t! / I’ll talk with you / and giggle too. / That’s how I’ll show my love for you.” Unfortunately, many speakers’ actions feel vague and rather patronizing even as they aim to include and reassure. “I know you bring such interesting things,” a wheelchair user says, welcoming a family “born far, far away” who arrives at the airport; the adults wear Islamic clothing. As pink- and brown-skinned worshipers join a solitary brown-skinned person who somehow “[doesn’t] pray as some people pray” on a church pew, a smiling, pink-skinned worshiper’s declaration that “we’re all, I see, one family” raises echoes of the problematic assertion, “I don’t see color.” The speakers’ exclamations of “But I won’t!” after noting others’ prejudiced behavior reads more as self-congratulation than promise of inclusion. Sanders’ geometric, doll-like human figures are cheery but stiff, and the text’s bold, uppercase typeface switches jarringly to cursive for the refrain, “That’s how I’ll show my love for you.” Characters’ complexions include paper-white, yellow, pink, and brown.

An unfortunately simplistic delivery of a well-intentioned message. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4236-5395-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Gibbs Smith

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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