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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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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