An excellent update on the golden rule: treat people how they want to be treated.

DON'T HUG DOUG

(HE DOESN'T LIKE IT)

A cheerful approach to basic consent.

In rollicking text readers learn that Doug, a brown-skinned child with red glasses, “likes to sort his rock collection, and try on his sock collection, and draw with his chalk collection.” He often has a smile on his face and “just doesn’t like hugs.” “Doug likes YOU,” the book assures readers, explaining that Doug only likes good-night hugs, from his mom. The next page points to people of various ages and racial presentations and poses a question: “Can you hug these people? There’s only one way to find out.” “ASK!” Doug rejoins. Readers learn that “Some people love hugs. Lots of people don’t. And lots of people are somewhere in the middle.” A collage of purple, green, and blue people (and one porcupine), one in hijab and the others with racially differentiated hair, share their preferences around physical affection. The story ends with Doug racing around high-fiving a diverse group of humans and nonhumans. Especially important is that Doug never gives a reason why he doesn’t like hugs—he just doesn’t, and the reason why doesn’t matter, because he gets to make that decision for himself. Even though it doesn’t have—or really need—a plot, this book will still be fun to read aloud or explore independently. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9.5-by-19-inch double-page spreads viewed at 8.3% of actual size.)

An excellent update on the golden rule: treat people how they want to be treated. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 26, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-984813-02-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught...

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A PROBLEM?

A child struggles with the worry and anxiety that come with an unexpected problem.

In a wonderful balance of text and pictures, the team responsible for What Do You Do With an Idea (2014) returns with another book inspiring children to feel good about themselves. A child frets about a problem that won’t go away: “I wished it would just disappear. I tried everything I could to hide from it. I even found ways to disguise myself. But it still found me.” The spare, direct narrative is accompanied by soft gray illustrations in pencil and watercolor. The sepia-toned figure of the child is set apart from the background and surrounded by lots of white space, visually isolating the problem, which is depicted as a purple storm cloud looming overhead. Color is added bit by bit as the storm cloud grows and its color becomes more saturated. With a backpack and umbrella, the child tries to escape the problem while the storm swirls, awash with compass points scattered across the pages. The pages brighten into splashes of yellow as the child decides to tackle the problem head-on and finds that it holds promise for unlooked-for opportunity.

A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught situations, this belongs on the shelf alongside Molly Bang’s Sophie books. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-943-20000-9

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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This simple and sincere tale of working up courage to face fears makes quite a splash.

JABARI JUMPS

Young Jabari decides today is the day he is going to jump from the diving board, even though it’s a little high and a little scary.

Jabari’s father and baby sister accompany him to the swimming pool in the city, where Jabari has already made up his mind about today’s goal: jumping off the diving board. “I’m a great jumper,” he says, “so I’m not scared at all.” But that’s not entirely true. Readers see Jabari play the waiting game as the other children (a diverse bunch) make their ways past him in line. Once Jabari finally begins to climb up, he slyly remembers that he forgot to “stretch.” The stalling techniques don’t faze his dad, who sees an opportunity for a life lesson. “It’s okay to feel a little scared,” offers his dad at the side of the pool. With renewed will, Jabari returns to the towering diving board, ready to embrace the feat. In her debut, Cornwall places her loving black family at the center, coloring the swimming pool and park beyond in minty hues and adding whimsy with digitally collaged newspaper for skyscrapers. A bird’s-eye view of Jabari’s toes clinging to the edge of the diving board as he looks way, way down at the blue pool below puts readers in his head and in the action.

This simple and sincere tale of working up courage to face fears makes quite a splash. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 9, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7838-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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