Adults may relish reading this tale aloud while their lap readers enjoy the beautiful illustrations.

MY BIG BOOK OF BEGINNINGS!

Paintings of a white child and a host of friendly animals set the stage for a welcome-to-the-world poem in this debut picture book.

Beginning with imagining that a baby journeys “from beyond the last star” to be born, this volume, dominated by oversized images with only one stanza on every two-page spread, makes the event a thing of legend. The infant’s smile ignites the Northern Lights. But the poem also offers readers a chance to tell their own stories, asking them to wonder how they began. The poem questions who lives within the baby’s heart and what language that “who” speaks. Many of Stoesz’s metaphors, particularly those from a spiritual perspective, will likely soar over young readers’ heads while others, such as the concept that monsters can be tamed with kindness, may resonate. Although most of the stanzas hold the same rhythm and rhyme pattern, a few misfire (“Who is it there, lying deep in your heart? / Is it a song? Or a lion? Or perhaps a buzzing bee?”). But the paintings by debut illustrator Rivarola are gorgeous. While the images fail to portray a diverse cast, kids should love the idea of riding on a giraffe’s head to see the world or playing on a swing made of starlight.

Adults may relish reading this tale aloud while their lap readers enjoy the beautiful illustrations.

Pub Date: Dec. 30, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-7751384-0-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Beloved Connections

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2018

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GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS

With the same delightfully irreverent spirit that he brought to his retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" (1987), Marshall enlivens another favorite. Although completely retold with his usual pungent wit and contemporary touches ("I don't mind if I do," says Goldilocks, as she tries out porridge, chair, and bed), Marshall retains the stories well-loved pattern, including Goldilocks escaping through the window (whereupon Baby Bear inquires, "Who was that little girl?"). The illustrations are fraught with delicious humor and detail: books that are stacked everywhere around the rather cluttered house, including some used in lieu of a missing leg for Papa Bear's chair; comically exaggerated beds—much too high at the head and the foot; and Baby Bear's wonderfully messy room, which certainly brings the story into the 20th century. Like its predecessor, perfect for several uses, from picture-book hour to beginning reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1988

ISBN: 0140563660

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1988

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Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children.

THE NIGHT IS YOURS

On hot summer nights, Amani’s parents permit her to go outside and play in the apartment courtyard, where the breeze is cool and her friends are waiting.

The children jump rope to the sounds of music as it floats through a neighbor’s window, gaze at stars in the night sky, and play hide-and-seek in the moonlight. It is in the moonlight that Amani and her friends are themselves found by the moon, and it illumines the many shades of their skin, which vary from light tan to deep brown. In a world where darkness often evokes ideas of evil or fear, this book is a celebration of things that are dark and beautiful—like a child’s dark skin and the night in which she plays. The lines “Show everyone else how to embrace the night like you. Teach them how to be a night-owning girl like you” are as much an appeal for her to love and appreciate her dark skin as they are the exhortation for Amani to enjoy the night. There is a sense of security that flows throughout this book. The courtyard is safe and homelike. The moon, like an additional parent, seems to be watching the children from the sky. The charming full-bleed illustrations, done in washes of mostly deep blues and greens, make this a wonderful bedtime story.

Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55271-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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