A sweet tale of boyhood friendship that will help young readers learn about making friends and being open to new people.

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THE LION

In Baker’s debut picture book, an imaginative boy has trouble fitting in until he meets an open-minded group of new friends.

Five boys spend their time hanging out at Pine Camp, where they build a fort out of “sticks, stones and wind chimes.” They reach the spot by bike and scooter, and once there, they like to spend time reading, snacking, and sharing ideas. One of the boys keeps his treasure buried in a box, which includes pine cones, weeds, and his stuffed lion toy. At a park near the camp, another young boy is playing—but he’s dressed as a lion and can’t seem to get the other kids in the park to play with him. Discouraged by the trouble he has making friends, he runs into the camp, where the boy who buried the treasure eventually finds him. He’s hiding behind a rock, afraid to be turned away from playmates once again. Though there are few words in the story, Baker makes them count, as she does in the boys’ encounter: “The boy with the lion toy stood eye to eye with the boy in the lion suit”—a powerful moment in which the two boys decide what to make of each other. The episode teaches young readers an important lesson: be open and understanding to each other so that, here, the five friends can become six. For readers just starting out, Baker helpfully repeats words (“lion suit,” “Pine Camp,” etc.) throughout the story. Meanwhile, the gorgeously rendered illustrations feature bright colors and small details, such as the lion-suited boy drawing a lion in the dirt. The illustrations also include more details than the text offers, including a map with “Queenie’s Grave,” which may provide more adventurous imagination fodder for readers captivated by the charming world of Pine Camp.

A sweet tale of boyhood friendship that will help young readers learn about making friends and being open to new people.

Pub Date: March 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-1508922810

Page Count: 24

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2015

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Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit.

THERE'S A MONSTER IN YOUR BOOK

From the There’s a…in Your Book series

Readers try to dislodge a monster from the pages of this emotive and interactive read-aloud.

“OH NO!” the story starts. “There’s a monster in your book!” The blue, round-headed monster with pink horns and a pink-tipped tail can be seen cheerfully munching on the opening page. “Let’s try to get him out,” declares the narrator. Readers are encouraged to shake, tilt, and spin the book around, while the monster careens around an empty background looking scared and lost. Viewers are exhorted to tickle the monster’s feet, blow on the page, and make a really loud noise. Finally, shockingly, it works: “Now he’s in your room!” But clearly a monster in your book is safer than a monster in your room, so he’s coaxed back into the illustrations and lulled to sleep, curled up under one page and cuddling a bit of another like a child with their blankie. The monster’s entirely cute appearance and clear emotional reactions to his treatment add to the interactive aspect, and some young readers might even resist the instructions to avoid hurting their new pal. Children will be brought along on the monster’s journey, going from excited, noisy, and wiggly to calm and steady (one can hope).

Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6456-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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THE NAME JAR

Unhei has just left her Korean homeland and come to America with her parents. As she rides the school bus toward her first day of school, she remembers the farewell at the airport in Korea and examines the treasured gift her grandmother gave her: a small red pouch containing a wooden block on which Unhei’s name is carved. Unhei is ashamed when the children on the bus find her name difficult to pronounce and ridicule it. Lesson learned, she declines to tell her name to anyone else and instead offers, “Um, I haven’t picked one yet. But I’ll let you know next week.” Her classmates write suggested names on slips of paper and place them in a jar. One student, Joey, takes a particular liking to Unhei and sees the beauty in her special stamp. When the day arrives for Unhei to announce her chosen name, she discovers how much Joey has helped. Choi (Earthquake, see below, etc.) draws from her own experience, interweaving several issues into this touching account and delicately addressing the challenges of assimilation. The paintings are done in creamy, earth-tone oils and augment the story nicely. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 10, 2001

ISBN: 0-375-80613-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2001

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