WHEREVER YOU'LL BE

A sweet, simple story about family love.

A young child wakes up early in the morning, greeting cat, dog, and mother.

Together, mother and child get ready, for work and school respectively. Before they part, the mother reminds her youngster that even though they will be in different places all day, they will both be holding each other in their thoughts. The remainder of the book shows how the mother and child lead parallel days in their separate worlds. While the young child learns a new song, the mother walks into her office with earbuds in, presumably also listening to music. The mother has lunch and snack with a colleague while the child has lunch and snack with school pals. The tot fingerpaints while the mother and her colleague do paperwork. In the evening, the parent and child reunite, eager to find out about each other’s days. The book’s gentle, rhyming text tells a lyrical story about love, growth, and family. The illustrations, which utilize a soothing pastel palette, cleverly highlight the parallels between the lives of adults and children. The pictures feature diverse supporting characters—one of the mother’s colleagues and one of the child’s classmates appear to be Black while other characters are racially ambiguous—but the story centers a White family with heterosexual parents and thus breaks no real new ground. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A sweet, simple story about family love. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: July 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-20653-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flamingo Books

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

A KISSING HAND FOR CHESTER RACCOON

From the Kissing Hand series

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original...

A sweetened, condensed version of the best-selling picture book, The Kissing Hand.

As in the original, Chester Raccoon is nervous about attending Owl’s night school (raccoons are nocturnal). His mom kisses him on the paw and reminds him, “With a Kissing Hand… / We’ll never be apart.” The text boils the story down to its key elements, causing this version to feel rushed. Gone is the list of fun things Chester will get to do at school. Fans of the original may be disappointed that this board edition uses a different illustrator. Gibson’s work is equally sentimental, but her renderings are stiff and flat in comparison to the watercolors of Harper and Leak. Very young readers will probably not understand that Owl’s tree, filled with opossums, a squirrel, a chipmunk and others, is supposed to be a school.

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original shouldn’t look to this version as replacement for their page-worn copies. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933718-77-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

PERFECTLY NORMAN

From the Big Bright Feelings series

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance.

A boy with wings learns to be himself and inspires others like him to soar, too.

Norman, a “perfectly normal” boy, never dreamed he might grow wings. Afraid of what his parents might say, he hides his new wings under a big, stuffy coat. Although the coat hides his wings from the world, Norman no longer finds joy in bathtime, playing at the park, swimming, or birthday parties. With the gentle encouragement of his parents, who see his sadness, Norman finds the courage to come out of hiding and soar. Percival (The Magic Looking Glass, 2017, etc.) depicts Norman with light skin and dark hair. Black-and-white illustrations show his father with dark skin and hair and his mother as white. The contrast of black-and-white illustrations with splashes of bright color complements the story’s theme. While Norman tries to be “normal,” the world and people around him look black and gray, but his coat stands out in yellow. Birds pop from the page in pink, green, and blue, emphasizing the joy and beauty of flying free. The final spread, full of bright color and multiracial children in flight, sets the mood for Norman’s realization on the last page that there is “no such thing as perfectly normal,” but he can be “perfectly Norman.”

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-785-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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