Zolotow's text was first published in 1980, but it still resonates with today’s parents and children, particularly as...

SAY IT!

As a mother and daughter enjoy “a golden, windy autumn day,” the daughter urges her mother to “say it.”

Their walk in a countryside full of fall’s beauty is punctuated by a series of small activities such as kicking up leaves, and by amiable encounters with, first, a small black kitten and later, an obviously familiar big dog. Masterful imagery in the text includes “and the trees in the pond shivered into a million zigzagging streaks of color.” The mother uses some delicious phrases, such as, “It’s a golden, shining, splendiferous day!” Voake’s pen-and-ink with watercolor illustrations perfectly complement the mood set by Zolotow’s text, which combines love and camaraderie with the exhilaration of a sunny, crisp day. The artwork is so well-executed that simple lines clearly communicate such emotions as tenderness and trust on faces and in posture. The layout is handsome, from text placement to endpapers. The mother’s gently teasing responses to the little girl’s insistent “Say it” conclude with a sweet reminder to little ones who are looking at the pictures and listening to their favorite grown-up read the book. The only disappointment for those who remember the original, equally endearing, illustrations by James Stevenson might be that the characters are again portrayed as decidedly of European descent.

Zolotow's text was first published in 1980, but it still resonates with today’s parents and children, particularly as imagined by Voake. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8115-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Exciting artwork paired with disappointingly dull text.

KINDNESS GROWS

Rhyming verses about kindness using a consistent metaphor of widening cracks versus blooming plants are amplified by cutouts on each page.

The art and layout are spectacular, from the cover through the double-page spreads near the end. Racially diverse toddlers are shown engaging in various moods and behaviors, some of which create unhappiness and some of which lead to friendship and happiness. Every page’s color palette and composition perfectly complement the narrative. The initial verso shows two children in aggressive stances, backgrounded by a dark, partly moonlit sky. Between them is a slender, crooked cutout. The large-type text reads: “It all / starts / with a / crack / that we can hardly see. / It happens when we shout / or if we disagree.” The recto shows two children in sunlight, with one offering a pretty leaf to the other, and the rhyme addresses the good that grows from kindness. In this image, the crooked die cut forms the trunk of a tiny sapling. Until the final double-page spreads, the art follows this clever setup: dark deeds and a crack on the left, and good deeds and a growing tree on the right. Unfortunately, the text is far from the equal of the art: It is banal and preachy, and it does not even scan well without some effort on the part of whomever is reading it. Still, the youngest children will solemnly agree with the do’s and don’ts, and they may decide to memorize a page or two.

Exciting artwork paired with disappointingly dull text. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68010-229-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for...

OLIVER AND HIS EGG

Oliver, of first-day-of-school alligator fame, is back, imagining adventures and still struggling to find balance between introversion and extroversion.

“When Oliver found his egg…” on the playground, mint-green backgrounds signifying Oliver’s flight into fancy slowly grow larger until they take up entire spreads; Oliver’s creature, white and dinosaurlike with orange polka dots, grows larger with them. Their adventures include sharing treats, sailing the seas and going into outer space. A classmate’s yell brings him back to reality, where readers see him sitting on top of a rock. Even considering Schmid’s scribbly style, readers can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he ponders the girl and whether or not to give up his solitary play. “But when Oliver found his rock… // Oliver imagined many adventures // with all his friends!” This last is on a double gatefold that opens to show the children enjoying the creature’s slippery curves. A final wordless spread depicts all the children sitting on rocks, expressions gleeful, wondering, waiting, hopeful. The illustrations, done in pastel pencil and digital color, again make masterful use of white space and page turns, although this tale is not nearly as funny or tongue-in-cheek as Oliver and His Alligator (2013), nor is its message as clear and immediately accessible to children.

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for all children but sadly isn’t. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7573-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more