A beautiful tribute to the power of dance that is a must-read for younger aspiring ballerinas.

READ REVIEW

THIS IS IT

A nervous young girl dances her way into a more confident version of herself.

Ballet auditions can be daunting. Readers are introduced to the heroine of Peoples-Riley’s debut picture book as she stands before the imposing Dance Theater Studio doors, which loom larger than life on the page. The ballerina protagonist—a freckle-faced girl of color with a mass of tight, red curls—hunches with her arms folded, cowed by her surroundings, until she receives a much-needed intervention from her sprightly shadow-self. Posed with hands thrust confidently on her hips, the tutu-clad shadow leads the young girl on a magical dancing adventure through New York, rather like a female Peter Pan, demonstrating to readers the importance of believing in oneself. The author/illustrator makes excellent use of simple, lyrical prose and perspective to convey the heroine’s intimidation and then her growing self-confidence as she absorbs the lessons her shadow-self provides. New York City, in particular Central Park, is a wonderful supporting character in this delightful tale. Most importantly the book contains a crucial message of female empowerment that is also linked to the rigors of dance. Often ballet is chided for its ruthless treatment of women, but this story showcases its ability to instill grace and poise in the protagonist while also helping her to discover inner strength and resilience.

A beautiful tribute to the power of dance that is a must-read for younger aspiring ballerinas. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-265776-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original...

A KISSING HAND FOR CHESTER RACCOON

From the Kissing Hand series

A sweetened, condensed version of the best-selling picture book, The Kissing Hand.

As in the original, Chester Raccoon is nervous about attending Owl’s night school (raccoons are nocturnal). His mom kisses him on the paw and reminds him, “With a Kissing Hand… / We’ll never be apart.” The text boils the story down to its key elements, causing this version to feel rushed. Gone is the list of fun things Chester will get to do at school. Fans of the original may be disappointed that this board edition uses a different illustrator. Gibson’s work is equally sentimental, but her renderings are stiff and flat in comparison to the watercolors of Harper and Leak. Very young readers will probably not understand that Owl’s tree, filled with opossums, a squirrel, a chipmunk and others, is supposed to be a school.

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original shouldn’t look to this version as replacement for their page-worn copies. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933718-77-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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