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Accessible, convincing, and sweet.

A meta-narrative about sharing love, rooted in the tangible.

The endpages include the words “This book belongs to” and multiple lines below for readers to write in their names, an enticing way to lay out the challenge issued in the title. (A caveat for library borrowers will help ensure that the book returns to circulating shelves.) As a pensive-looking Asian-presenting child finishes reading a book, an unseen narrator offers commentary: “Seriously, find someone you’ve NEVER talked to before. And hand them THIS book”—words that may worry caregivers and prompt a discussion about conversations with strangers. With guidance from an adult, though, some of the suggested outcomes around community-building and connection could come to fruition: “There could be giggles. There might be hugs (ask first)." At one point, the narrator instructs readers to hold up one of the spreads (“THIS IS FOR YOU!”) before giving the book away. Even though it’s just a few big words on a page, it really feels like a celebration and hug, showing that it takes very little to make someone’s day. The narrator urges readers not to stop at giving away this book; kids can also give their time or their words—suggestions that will be especially appreciated by those with less tangible items to offer. Digitally rendered illustrations in muted hues of green, purple, and blue set a reassuring tone as they bring to life a supportive and diverse community. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Accessible, convincing, and sweet. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-48051-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022

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Gently models kindness and respect—positive behavior that can be applied daily.

A group of young “dinosauruses” go out into the world on their own.

A fuchsia little Hugasaurus and her Pappysaur (both of whom resemble Triceratops) have never been apart before, but Hugasaurus happily heads off with lunchbox in hand and “wonder in her heart” to make new friends. The story has a first-day-of-school feeling, but Hugasaurus doesn’t end up in a formal school environment; rather, she finds herself on a playground with other little prehistoric creatures, though no teacher or adult seems to be around. At first, the new friends laugh and play. But Hugasaurus’ pals begin to squabble, and play comes to a halt. As she wonders what to do, a fuzzy platypus playmate asks some wise questions (“What…would your Pappy say to do? / What makes YOU feel better?”), and Hugasaurus decides to give everyone a hug—though she remembers to ask permission first. Slowly, good humor is restored and play begins anew with promises to be slow to anger and, in general, to help create a kinder world. Short rhyming verses occasionally use near rhyme but also include fun pairs like ripples and double-triples. Featuring cozy illustrations of brightly colored creatures, the tale sends a strong message about appropriate and inappropriate ways to resolve conflict, the final pages restating the lesson plainly in a refrain that could become a classroom motto. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Gently models kindness and respect—positive behavior that can be applied daily. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-82869-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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A straightforward tale of conflict and reconciliation for newly emergent readers? Not exactly, which raises it above the...

In this deceptively spare, very beginning reader, a girl assembles a robot and then treats it like a slave until it goes on strike.

Having put the robot together from a jumble of loose parts, the budding engineer issues an increasingly peremptory series of rhymed orders— “Throw, Bot. / Row, Bot”—that turn from playful activities like chasing bubbles in the yard to tasks like hoeing the garden, mowing the lawn and towing her around in a wagon. Jung crafts a robot with riveted edges, big googly eyes and a smile that turns down in stages to a scowl as the work is piled on. At last, the exhausted robot plops itself down, then in response to its tormentor’s angry “Don’t say no, Bot!” stomps off in a huff. In one to four spacious, sequential panels per spread, Jung develops both the plotline and the emotional conflict using smoothly modeled cartoon figures against monochromatic or minimally detailed backgrounds. The child’s commands, confined in small dialogue balloons, are rhymed until her repentant “Come on home, Bot” breaks the pattern but leads to a more equitable division of labor at the end.

A straightforward tale of conflict and reconciliation for newly emergent readers? Not exactly, which raises it above the rest. (Easy reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 25, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-87083-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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