The book is potentially useful as a discussion starter about feelings, but kids probably won’t demand rereads.

READ REVIEW

THIS MAKES ME HAPPY

From the Dealing with Feelings series , Vol. 1

An elementary-age child recounts what she does and feels during a school field trip to a county fair.

Clean, colorful graphic design, first-person narration, and short declarative sentences bode well for the inaugural entry in the Dealing with Feelings series. The narrator is a wide-eyed girl with brown skin and textured, black hair, and her fellow students represent every possible complexion. The teacher is also brown, with straight hair. However, much of the story itself seems contrived to elicit a variety of feelings in the narrator. Would a teacher enter a pie-eating contest while supervising a field trip? Unlikely, but it does give the class a chance to cheer her on. Similarly, a contest to guess the number of jelly beans in a jar gives the narrator a chance to compare her feelings to the rainbow of colors in the jar. When the class stops to purchase treats at a bake sale “to support a good cause,” the heroine can’t indulge because she has allergies. Conveniently, the teacher reveals that she also has allergies. A mindfulness activity on the bus and a review of what produced the child’s positive feelings makes it clear that teaching emotional vocabulary is the book’s primary mission. Even 17 exclamation points can’t make this well-meaning lesson exciting.

The book is potentially useful as a discussion starter about feelings, but kids probably won’t demand rereads. (Early reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63565-057-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Rodale Kids

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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A valuable asset to the library of a child who experiences anxiety and a great book to get children talking about their...

RUBY FINDS A WORRY

Ruby is an adventurous and happy child until the day she discovers a Worry.

Ruby barely sees the Worry—depicted as a blob of yellow with a frowny unibrow—at first, but as it hovers, the more she notices it and the larger it grows. The longer Ruby is affected by this Worry, the fewer colors appear on the page. Though she tries not to pay attention to the Worry, which no one else can see, ignoring it prevents her from enjoying the things that she once loved. Her constant anxiety about the Worry causes the bright yellow blob to crowd Ruby’s everyday life, which by this point is nearly all washes of gray and white. But at the playground, Ruby sees a boy sitting on a bench with a growing sky-blue Worry of his own. When she invites the boy to talk, his Worry begins to shrink—and when Ruby talks about her own Worry, it also grows smaller. By the book’s conclusion, Ruby learns to control her Worry by talking about what worries her, a priceless lesson for any child—or adult—conveyed in a beautifully child-friendly manner. Ruby presents black, with hair in cornrows and two big afro-puff pigtails, while the boy has pale skin and spiky black hair.

A valuable asset to the library of a child who experiences anxiety and a great book to get children talking about their feelings . (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0237-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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An unfortunately simplistic delivery of a well-intentioned message.

I'LL WALK WITH YOU

Drawing on lyrics from her Mormon children’s hymn of the same title, Pearson explores diversity and acceptance in a more secular context.

Addressing people of varying ages, races, origins, and abilities in forced rhymes that omit the original version’s references to Jesus, various speakers describe how they—unlike “some people”—will “show [their] love for” their fellow humans. “If you don’t talk as most people do / some people talk and laugh at you,” a child tells a tongue-tied classmate. “But I won’t! / I won’t! / I’ll talk with you / and giggle too. / That’s how I’ll show my love for you.” Unfortunately, many speakers’ actions feel vague and rather patronizing even as they aim to include and reassure. “I know you bring such interesting things,” a wheelchair user says, welcoming a family “born far, far away” who arrives at the airport; the adults wear Islamic clothing. As pink- and brown-skinned worshipers join a solitary brown-skinned person who somehow “[doesn’t] pray as some people pray” on a church pew, a smiling, pink-skinned worshiper’s declaration that “we’re all, I see, one family” raises echoes of the problematic assertion, “I don’t see color.” The speakers’ exclamations of “But I won’t!” after noting others’ prejudiced behavior reads more as self-congratulation than promise of inclusion. Sanders’ geometric, doll-like human figures are cheery but stiff, and the text’s bold, uppercase typeface switches jarringly to cursive for the refrain, “That’s how I’ll show my love for you.” Characters’ complexions include paper-white, yellow, pink, and brown.

An unfortunately simplistic delivery of a well-intentioned message. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4236-5395-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Gibbs Smith

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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