Readers may find themselves thinking about important spiritual concepts after they close the book, even if they finish it in...

READ REVIEW

IT ONLY TAKES A MINUTE

Some parents may find that they need this picture book more than their children do.

The book is a sort of checklist. It describes tiny acts of kindness that people can perform in about 60 seconds: “It only takes a minute to smile at people, especially those who really seem to need a smile.” Other items on the list aren’t so much acts as moments of quiet contemplation: “It only takes a minute to look more closely at the things I see—like a flower, and a fluffy white cloud, and the bright blue sky…and to remember Who made all those lovely things.” The book is clearly addressed to an observant Jewish audience. All the boys in the pictures are wearing skullcaps. (Most of the characters are white, but one of the Jewish boys has brown skin.) But with so much political turmoil in the headlines, even less-religious readers may appreciate the general philosophy and find the book a calming alternative to watching the news. (The endpapers are filled with pictures of clanging clocks and bells, cleverly designed to make readers appreciate calmness and mindfulness.) The repetitive format means that the story lacks drama, but these days, drama is the last thing some people need.

Readers may find themselves thinking about important spiritual concepts after they close the book, even if they finish it in a matter of minutes . (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-945560-02-6

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Hachai

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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THE GRUFFALO

The action of this rhymed and humorous tale centers upon a mouse who "took a stroll/through the deep dark wood./A fox saw the mouse/and the mouse looked good." The mouse escapes being eaten by telling the fox that he is on his way to meet his friend the gruffalo (a monster of his imagination), whose favorite food is roasted fox. The fox beats a hasty retreat. Similar escapes are in store for an owl and a snake; both hightail it when they learn the particulars: tusks, claws, terrible jaws, eyes orange, tongue black, purple prickles on its back. When the gruffalo suddenly materializes out of the mouse's head and into the forest, the mouse has to think quick, declaring himself inedible as the "scariest creature in the deep dark wood," and inviting the gruffalo to follow him to witness the effect he has on the other creatures. When the gruffalo hears that the mouse's favorite food is gruffalo crumble, he runs away. It's a fairly innocuous tale, with twists that aren't sharp enough and treachery that has no punch. Scheffler's funny scenes prevent the suspense from culminating; all his creatures, predator and prey, are downright lovable. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8037-2386-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1999

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PRINCESSES WEAR PANTS

This book wants to be feminist.

Princess Penelope Pineapple, illustrated as a white girl with dark hair and eyes, is the Amelia Bloomer of the Pineapple Kingdom. She has dresses, but she prefers to wear pants as she engages in myriad activities ranging from yoga to gardening, from piloting a plane to hosting a science fair. When it’s time for the Pineapple Ball, she imagines wearing a sparkly pants outfit, but she worries about Grand Lady Busyboots’ disapproval: “ ‘Pants have no place on a lady!’ she’d say. / ‘That’s how it has been, and that’s how it shall stay.’ ” In a moment of seeming dissonance between the text and art, Penny seems to resolve to wear pants, but then she shows up to the ball in a gown. This apparent contradiction is resolved when the family cat, Miss Fussywiggles, falls from the castle into the moat and Princess Penelope saves her—after stripping off her gown to reveal pink, flowered swimming trunks and a matching top. Impressed, Grand Lady Busyboots resolves that princesses can henceforth wear whatever they wish. While seeing a princess as savior rather than damsel in distress may still seem novel, it seems a stretch to cast pants-wearing as a broadly contested contemporary American feminist issue. Guthrie and Oppenheim’s unimaginative, singsong rhyme is matched in subtlety by Byrne’s bright illustrations.

Skip it . (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2603-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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