A nifty presentation of the well-worn but evergreen message of human connectedness.

READ REVIEW

WE ARE TOGETHER

Rhyming advice for readers extols the values of teamwork and diversity as die-cut shapes reveal an increasing number of children.

Two brown-skinned children stand on a hill, surrounded by a kite-filled sky on which the opening stanza declares, “together, we’re a team.” One child is printed directly on verso; the other is visible through a die-cut keyhole punched through it and the nine leaves beneath. Teckentrup’s characteristic textured blocks of color make this composition feel layered, and the following spreads have even more depth and complexity; the real stunner shows a flock of birds in an autumn sky. Birds and trees are frequent motifs in this assortment of pastoral landscapes, paired with platitudes such as, “If we all sing together / one voice becomes a choir.” Populated with a growing group of children standing to face readers and revealed through subsequent die cuts, these scenes are artful rather than realistic; both polar bears and penguins frolic on the same iceberg in one winter tableau. Finally, a circle of 18 children, each framed by a cutout, gives way to a standard double-page spread of “one big, happy crowd.” Here, still heedless of the fourth wall, are dozens of children in celebratory poses with skin tones ranging from peach to deep brown—and three of them have visible disabilities, counting the one with glasses.

A nifty presentation of the well-worn but evergreen message of human connectedness. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68010-177-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Dog lovers will especially “LOVE” this, and readers who can’t get enough can follow the real-life Plum in the author’s blog.

LOVE IS MY FAVORITE THING

Clark captures a dog’s exuberance and love of the simple things.

While the text is missing any mention of “Squirrel!” still, Plum jumps from one thing to the next that she loves, from wind and snow and catching and sticks and the kids next door to the park, water, tug of war, and ice cream. It’s these last four things that get Plum into trouble one day, one awful day when she wonders if any of the people she loves still love her—that’s how naughty she’s been. This is doubly tough for poor Plum, as LOVE is her favorite thing in the world, LOVE being the love she has for her family, Emma and Rupert, and for Gracie and Sam, the kids next door, and the love they have for her. Clark uses white backgrounds and spreads that vary among comic panels, vignettes, single-page and double-page spreads to pace the tale and make it clear to readers just how energetic and exuberant the scruffy black mutt is. And no child will fail to understand the dog’s conundrum: she knows what she should do and yet feels compelled to do the wrong thing anyway. Fur, ears, and posture speak volumes.

Dog lovers will especially “LOVE” this, and readers who can’t get enough can follow the real-life Plum in the author’s blog. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-17503-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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Gently encourages empathy, compassion, and consideration.

TOMORROW I'LL BE KIND

How will you behave tomorrow?

Utilizing the same format and concept of her popular Tomorrow I’ll Be Brave (2018), Hische presents young listeners with short, studied rhymes that describe various positive attributes (being helpful, patient, gentle, honest, generous, graceful, and kind). Also included are kid-friendly ways to incorporate these behaviors into daily life, with the underlying goal of making the world a better place. The illustrations, which feature friends in the forms of a mouse, cat, and rabbit, are colorful and appealing, and they extend the text by showing some additional ways of realizing the characteristics mentioned. Overall, the intentions are aboveboard, but this is a volume intended to teach about positive values and behavior, and as such, it comes across as somewhat treacly and proselytizing. The key words, incorporated into the illustrations in a graphic manner, are sometimes a bit difficult to read, and occasionally, select vocabulary and phrases (“to myself I will be true”; “my heart, my guiding light”) seem better suited for an older readership. Still, as an introduction to personality characteristics, beneficial behaviors, and social-emotional skills, this is a solid choice, and fans of the previous volume are likely to embrace this one as well. “I’ll dream of all the good that comes / when we all just do our best,” the text explains—a sentiment that’s hard to rebut.

Gently encourages empathy, compassion, and consideration. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-8704-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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