A joy

READ REVIEW

SONG ON THE WIND

Long ago and far away, a song was sung on the wind and is still journeying to soothe children to slumber.

It begins when an Indigenous child wrapped in her mother’s warm arms requests a lullaby about the sea. This mother begins, “In a long-ago place in a faraway time / A story was sung to the wind. / Mama told it to me, and I’ll tell it to you, / And the wind might catch it again,” and sings about the vast beauty of the saltwater world below an endless sky. The song goes next to a fishing vessel, where a pale-skinned boy asks his fisherman father for a story about a world of ice. His papa tells him of a faraway land covered in snow and ice. The song then passes to an Arctic Native grandmother and a young, brown-skinned child in a crib, listening to the stories on the wind outside the window. With each singer, the refrain varies slightly to suit. Historically around the globe, adult caregivers have comforted children by singing them to sleep. Everson’s 14 beautiful verses have the potential to continue this tradition. Her serene words are complemented by Native artist Bourgeois’ surreal, luminous illustrations. Muted and otherworldly, the colors and images bring depth to the text, bathing each of the families depicted with light.

A joy . (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-927083-30-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Fifth House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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Pair this with Leo Timmers’ Who Is Driving? (2007) for twice the guessing fun.

CLOTHESLINE CLUES TO JOBS PEOPLE DO

From the Clothesline Clues series

Heling and Hembrook’s clever conceit challenges children to analyze a small town’s clotheslines to guess the job each of their owners does. 

Close-up on the clothesline: “Uniform and cap, / an invite for you. / Big bag of letters. / What job does she do?” A turn of the page reveals a macro view of the home, van and the woman doing her job, “She is a mail carrier.” Indeed, she can be spotted throughout the book delivering invitations to all the rest of the characters, who gather at the end for a “Launch Party.” The verses’ rhymes are spot-on, though the rhythm falters a couple of times. The authors nicely mix up the gender stereotypes often associated with several of these occupations, making the carpenter, firefighter and astronaut women. But while Davies keeps uniforms and props pretty neutral (he even avoids U.S. mail symbols), he keeps to the stereotypes that allow young readers to easily identify occupations—the farmer chews on a stalk of wheat; the beret-wearing artist sports a curly mustache. A subdued palette and plain white backgrounds keep kids’ focus on the clothing clues. Still, there are plenty of details to absorb—the cat with arched back that anticipates a spray of water, the firefighter who “lights” the rocket.

Pair this with Leo Timmers’ Who Is Driving? (2007) for twice the guessing fun. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-58089-251-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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THE GRUFFALO

The action of this rhymed and humorous tale centers upon a mouse who "took a stroll/through the deep dark wood./A fox saw the mouse/and the mouse looked good." The mouse escapes being eaten by telling the fox that he is on his way to meet his friend the gruffalo (a monster of his imagination), whose favorite food is roasted fox. The fox beats a hasty retreat. Similar escapes are in store for an owl and a snake; both hightail it when they learn the particulars: tusks, claws, terrible jaws, eyes orange, tongue black, purple prickles on its back. When the gruffalo suddenly materializes out of the mouse's head and into the forest, the mouse has to think quick, declaring himself inedible as the "scariest creature in the deep dark wood," and inviting the gruffalo to follow him to witness the effect he has on the other creatures. When the gruffalo hears that the mouse's favorite food is gruffalo crumble, he runs away. It's a fairly innocuous tale, with twists that aren't sharp enough and treachery that has no punch. Scheffler's funny scenes prevent the suspense from culminating; all his creatures, predator and prey, are downright lovable. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8037-2386-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1999

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