A sweetly empathetic, child-friendly girl-girl romance.

LOVE, VIOLET

Violet only has eyes for one other child in her class: Mira.

Violet longs to spend her days dreaming and adventuring with Mira. But whenever Mira comes close, Violet panics and is unable to speak. In the winter, Violet gets an idea: If she can’t express her feelings in words, maybe she can express them through art. She decides to make Mira an extra-special valentine, covering it with glitter and signing it, “Love, Violet.” On Valentine’s Day, she tucks the paper heart under her lucky cowboy hat and plucks up her courage. But no amount of preparation or lucky charms can protect Violet from what happens next. After bumping into Mira, Violet trips and falls, and the whole class laughs at her. At recess, her hat flies away, leaving the valentine she made soaked with snow. It takes all Violet’s courage and resilience to pick herself up, dust herself off, and express her feelings—but when she does, the results are more wonderful than her wildest dreams. The book’s text is action-packed and heartfelt, capturing the juddering rhythms of Violet’s nervousness, and the watercolor illustrations are suffused with emotion, detail, and movement. The gentle, child-friendly romance at the heart of the story is a perfect celebration of courage and queerness, and earnest, awkward Violet is a protagonist every reader will root for. Violet presents White, and Mira has brown skin.

A sweetly empathetic, child-friendly girl-girl romance. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-374-31372-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history.

THE SCARECROW

Ferry and the Fans portray a popular seasonal character’s unlikely friendship.

Initially, the protagonist is shown in his solitary world: “Scarecrow stands alone and scares / the fox and deer, / the mice and crows. / It’s all he does. It’s all he knows.” His presence is effective; the animals stay outside the fenced-in fields, but the omniscient narrator laments the character’s lack of friends or places to go. Everything changes when a baby crow falls nearby. Breaking his pole so he can bend, the scarecrow picks it up, placing the creature in the bib of his overalls while singing a lullaby. Both abandon natural tendencies until the crow learns to fly—and thus departs. The aabb rhyme scheme flows reasonably well, propelling the narrative through fall, winter, and spring, when the mature crow returns with a mate to build a nest in the overalls bib that once was his home. The Fan brothers capture the emotional tenor of the seasons and the main character in their panoramic pencil, ballpoint, and digital compositions. Particularly poignant is the close-up of the scarecrow’s burlap face, his stitched mouth and leaf-rimmed head conveying such sadness after his companion goes. Some adults may wonder why the scarecrow seems to have only partial agency, but children will be tuned into the problem, gratified by the resolution.

A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-247576-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more