A wry, respectful ode to a rite of passage that’s both commonplace and marvelous. This is one fun ride! (Picture book. 3-6)

READ REVIEW

EVERYONE CAN LEARN TO RIDE A BICYCLE

A little girl in a ginormous blue-striped helmet chooses a bike, practices lots and, aided by a patient, daddy-esque (perhaps granddaddy-esque) guy in a green tie, learns to ride.

The gentle text (in elegant Bodoni Old Face) offers pithy encouragement. “Let’s go! / Watch everyone ride. / They all learned how. / Come on, let’s give it a try. / Training wheels are helpful. They keep you from tipping over.” Raschka’s watercolors, in a palette of green, blue, gray, ocher and red, convey humor and movement in economical, expressive vignettes. On one spread, the girl gazes at many riders: twins on a tandem bike, a woman in a red swimsuit, a cat riding in a back-fender basket and a man in Hasidic garb, payos flying. On another, no fewer than 11 spots show the girl wobbling and zooming, sans training wheels; the green-tie guy alternately steadies her course and flies behind in pursuit as she improves. The man’s elongated head bows toward the girl in Chagall-like studies of empathy, while her bow-shaped mouth and black braids convey a cute that’s never cloying. Some compositions are encased in softly rounded rectangles; others pop against the creamy matte ground. The paper’s minute gold flecks lend a lovely, subtle sparkle to the bright, thin washes.

A wry, respectful ode to a rite of passage that’s both commonplace and marvelous. This is one fun ride! (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 9, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-87007-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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This deeply satisfying story offers what all children crave when letting go—security and a trusted companion.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

  • Caldecott Honor Book

SLEEP LIKE A TIGER

The stages and script preceding this child’s passage into dreamland are so appealing they will surely inspire imitation.

When the protagonist announces that she is not sleepy, her wise parents counter that they are not requiring sleep, only pajama-wearing, face-washing and teeth-brushing. She then feels so good that “she loved / …stretching her toes / down under the crisp sheets, / lying as still as an otter / floating in a stream.” Logue’s words lull and caress as parents and child converse about how and where animals sleep. (Many appeared on earlier pages as toys.) Alone, the youngster replays each scene, inserting herself; the cozy images help her relax. Zagarenski’s exquisite compositions are rendered digitally and in mixed-media on wood, offering much to ponder. The paintings are luminous, from the child’s starry pajamas to the glowing whale supporting her sleep journey. Transparent layers, blending patterns, complex textures and wheeled objects add to the sense of gentle movement. The tiger, both the beloved cloth version and the real deal, is featured prominently; it is the child who contributes this example, narrating the connection between strength and rest. When sleep arrives, the stuffed animal is cradled in her arms; she leans against the jungle beast, and he clings to her doll.

This deeply satisfying story offers what all children crave when letting go—security and a trusted companion. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-547-64102-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

BE YOU!

An inspirational picture book offers life advice for readers who want to be themselves.

Replete with sparkling, often quirky illustrations of children living their best lives, this book is a gorgeous guidebook for those seeking encouragement while encountering life’s challenges. The children featured—a racially diverse group ranging from infants to preschoolers—cheerfully navigate the various injunctions that flow through the text: “Be curious.…Be adventurous.…Be persistent.…Be kind.” What is remarkable about the book is that even though the instructions and the brief sentences explaining them are at times vague, the illustrations expand on them in ways readers will find endearing and uplifting. Those depicting painful or challenging moments are especially effective. The “Be persistent” double-page spread shows a child in a boat on stormy seas; it’s rich with deep blues as it emphasizes the energy of wind and rain and struggle in the face of challenge. Together with the accompanying repeated phrase “Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop,” this spread arrests readers. By contrast, the “Be kind. Be understanding” spread simply presents two children’s faces, one cast in blue and the other in gold, but the empathy that Reynolds conveys is similarly captivating. While there is no plot to pull readers through the pages, the book provides rich fodder for caregivers to use as teachable moments, both informally and in classroom settings.

Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-57231-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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