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

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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Mixed-race children certainly deserve mirror books, but they also deserve excellent text and illustrations. This one misses...

BEAUTIFUL, WONDERFUL, STRONG LITTLE ME!

This tan-skinned, freckle-faced narrator extols her own virtues while describing the challenges of being of mixed race.

Protagonist Lilly appears on the cover, and her voluminous curly, twirly hair fills the image. Throughout the rhyming narrative, accompanied by cartoonish digital illustrations, Lilly brags on her dark skin (that isn’t very), “frizzy, wild” hair, eyebrows, intellect, and more. Her five friends present black, Asian, white (one blonde, one redheaded), and brown (this last uses a wheelchair). This array smacks of tokenism, since the protagonist focuses only on self-promotion, leaving no room for the friends’ character development. Lilly describes how hurtful racial microaggressions can be by recalling questions others ask her like “What are you?” She remains resilient and says that even though her skin and hair make her different, “the way that I look / Is not all I’m about.” But she spends so much time talking about her appearance that this may be hard for readers to believe. The rhyming verse that conveys her self-celebration is often clumsy and forced, resulting in a poorly written, plotless story for which the internal illustrations fall far short of the quality of the cover image.

Mixed-race children certainly deserve mirror books, but they also deserve excellent text and illustrations. This one misses the mark on both counts. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63233-170-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Eifrig

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here.

ONE LOVE

A sugary poem, very loosely based on the familiar song, lacks focus.

Using only the refrain from the original (“One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel all right!”), the reggae great’s daughter Cedella Marley sees this song as her “happy song” and adapts it for children. However, the adaptation robs it of life. After the opening lines, readers familiar with the original song (or the tourism advertisement for Jamaica) will be humming along only to be stopped by the bland lines that follow: “One love, what the flower gives the bee.” and then “One love, what Mother Earth gives the tree.” Brantley-Newton’s sunny illustrations perfectly reflect the saccharine quality of the text. Starting at the beginning of the day, readers see a little girl first in bed, under a photograph of Bob Marley, the sun streaming into her room, a bird at the window. Each spread is completely redundant—when the text is about family love, the illustration actually shows little hearts floating from her parents to the little girl. An image of a diverse group getting ready to plant a community garden, walking on top of a river accompanies the words “One love, like the river runs to the sea.”

Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here. (afterword) (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0224-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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