A light-hearted tale with an important message for young readers: courage comes in many forms, and often means putting our...

HANA RESCUES MISTY

A stranded kitten leads to a lesson in courage and empathy for a young girl in Mehdi’s simple children’s tale.

Hana hears a mysterious meowing while walking home from the grocery store with her mother. Upon investigating, they discover a lone kitten stuck high in a tree. As she gazes at the white and black kitten with purple stripes, Hana wonders what it would feel like if she were stranded without her mother. A quick phone call to the fire department sends rescuers scrambling up a ladder in an attempt to recover the kitten. But the skittish kitten keeps crawling higher. Eager to assist, Hana asks if she can try to coax the kitten down. This earns her an adamant “Absolutely not!” from the fire brigade. But Hana won’t be deterred and soon finds herself harnessed to one of the firemen, ascending the ladder. Eventually, Hana saves the day through her bravery and determination. Mehdi’s slender tale emphasizes many admirable qualities, such as Hana’s ability to empathize and her instinct to get help. However, the ending shifts the focus to Hana’s bravery in climbing the ladder, an act few parents would want to glamorize. Izhar’s illustrations of Hana in her helmet and harness happily climbing the ladder seem to further make light of the danger, despite the text’s insistence that she is frightened. Overall, Izhar’s illustrations work well alongside Mehdi’s text and convey amusing details, such as the strikingly similar facial expressions of mother and daughter as they search for the kitten. Although the concept of this book is far from original, there is a small twist at the very end that adds depth and layer to the story; Hana learns that life can be unfair, even for heroes. 

A light-hearted tale with an important message for young readers: courage comes in many forms, and often means putting our own fears aside to help another.

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2012

ISBN: 978-0615553610

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Azra Z. Mehdi

Review Posted Online: March 7, 2012

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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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