Though not a standout, this book fills a niche for those seeking titles dealing with this particular issue of character...

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MILES MCHALE, TATTLETALE

From the Little Boost series

The titular little chick learns an important lesson about what behaviors need to be reported and which to just let slide.

Jones’ newest picture book continues in the vein of some of her previous work with social-emotional development (Lacey Walker, Nonstop Talker, 2014, etc.). Here, Miles McHale is a member of a classroom populated by softly illustrated anthropomorphic wild animals of diverse species led by a giraffe with the Dickensian name of Mrs. Snitcher. Tattle-telling has become an issue in the classroom, and Mrs. Snitcher challenges her charges to a “Tattle Battle,” in which the team with the fewest tattles at the end of the week wins. Tattling is here defined as any concern that does not meet the following criteria: “If a friend is sick, hurt, or in harm’s way, / Then telling someone is OKAY.” Miles struggles to determine which events over the course of the week must be shared with an adult, including an accident with his little sister back at home. While the book does not address the issue at the heart of much tattling—the perception of injustice—it does offer some simple, easy-to-remember rhymes to help guide children toward appropriate sharing of concerns.

Though not a standout, this book fills a niche for those seeking titles dealing with this particular issue of character education . (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5158-0753-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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A sweet and far-from-cloying ode to love.

THE LOVE LETTER

A mysterious love letter brightens the lives of three forest animals.

Appealing mixed-media illustrations made of ink, gouache, brush marker, and colored pencil combine with a timely message that one kind act can start a chain reaction of kindness. When Hedgehog, Bunny, and Squirrel stumble in turn upon a formally composed love letter, each finds their life improved: Squirrel is less anxious, Bunny spreads goodwill through helpfulness, and Hedgehog is unusually cheerful. As the friends converge to try to discover who sent the letter, the real author appears in a (rather) convenient turn: a mouse who wrote an ode to the moon. Though disappointed that the letter was never meant for them, the friends reflect that the letter still made the world a happier place, making it a “wonderful mix-up.” Since there’s a lot of plot to follow, the book will best serve more-observant readers who are able to piece the narrative cleanly, but those older readers may also better appreciate the special little touches, such as the letter’s enticing, old-fashioned typewriter-style look, vignettes that capture small moments, or the subdued color palette that lends an elegant air. Drawn with minimalist, scribbly lines, the creatures achieve an invigorating balance between charming and spontaneous, with smudged lines that hint at layers of fur and simple, dotted facial expressions.

A sweet and far-from-cloying ode to love. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-274157-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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Accessible, reassuring and hopeful.

THE INVISIBLE BOY

This endearing picture book about a timid boy who longs to belong has an agenda but delivers its message with great sensitivity.

Brian wants to join in but is overlooked, even ostracized, by his classmates. Readers first see him alone on the front endpapers, drawing in chalk on the ground. The school scenarios are uncomfortably familiar: High-maintenance children get the teacher’s attention; team captains choose kickball players by popularity and athletic ability; chatter about birthday parties indicates they are not inclusive events. Tender illustrations rendered in glowing hues capture Brian’s isolation deftly; compared to the others and his surroundings, he appears in black and white. What saves Brian is his creativity. As he draws, Brian imagines amazing stories, including a poignant one about a superhero with the power to make friends. When a new boy takes some ribbing, it is Brian who leaves an illustrated note to make him feel better. The boy does not forget this gesture. It only takes one person noticing Brian for the others to see his talents have value; that he has something to contribute. Brian’s colors pop. In the closing endpapers, Brian’s classmates are spread around him on the ground, “wearing” his chalk-drawn wings and capes. Use this to start a discussion: The author includes suggested questions and recommended reading lists for adults and children.

Accessible, reassuring and hopeful. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-582-46450-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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