This sweet and gentle bedtime story, reinforced by soft pastel backgrounds and simple ink illustrations, assures young...

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I LOVED YOU, EVEN BEFORE YOU WERE BORN!

A debut picture book offers a letter to an eagerly awaited child.

The opening words are the work’s title, as an expectant mother sits in a rocking chair, looking fondly at a teddy bear. Accompanied by an image of tiny hands grabbing adult fingers, the text continues: “I loved your tiny hands and couldn’t wait to hold them.” Author Bear continues with each feature of the infant that’s so keenly anticipated: feet to kiss, smiles to see, baby noises to hear, and naps to watch in stillness and admiration. After the baby is born, there is even more love to be shared, and each of those items is revisited. Now the parent addressing the child gets to do, feel, and see all those things described previously. Robinson’s shaded ink drawings feature a variety of diverse parents and babies. The black-and-white art is contrasted with the watercolor backgrounds by Katelyn Bear (the author’s daughter), giving subtle blends of color to the backgrounds, primarily in pastels. While this lacks the sharp juxtaposition supposedly most enticing to infants, the delicate patterns and serene bursts of color are soothing, perfectly matching the comforting tone of the text. The sentences follow a pattern, the first set beginning with “I loved your”; the second, repeating the noun of the first, starts with or includes “I get to.” Those recurring words and activities reinforce the vocabulary for the youngest audiences. The tone of the phrases also gives the listener the sense that whoever is reading the story feels lucky and privileged to have that child as part of the family’s life, to be adored. Despite all the exclamation points, the appealing book creates the lulling message that affection has no limits.

This sweet and gentle bedtime story, reinforced by soft pastel backgrounds and simple ink illustrations, assures young listeners that they have always been surrounded by love.

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5255-0568-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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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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