A winning theme for the early sports shelf.

READ REVIEW

ODDREY JOINS THE TEAM

Oddrey and her friends learn about teamwork and fun on the soccer field in Whamond’s newest offering about his kooky heroine.

With so many soccer-playing kids today, it’s a delight to see the sport depicted in the pages of a picture book. Oddrey is excited about joining the Piccadilla Bees when her friend Maybelline (the team star and quite a ball hog) invites her to play. As they practice, however, it’s quickly apparent that Oddrey’s penchant for quirky leaps and flourishes hinders her progress on the field. The other children’s efforts similarly evoke a Bad News Bears sort of vibe, and they are unquestionably hampered, in part, by Maybelline’s overblown ego and her refusal to pass the ball. Oddrey’s epiphanic sighting of a bee inspires her to liken the team to a hive in which each Piccadilla Bee teammate has a specific role. While the ineffectual coach stands by, she instructs “Queen Bee” Maybelline to pass the ball, and the other players then use moves that had been their downfalls in practice to the team’s advantage. “The Bees didn’t win that day,” reads the text. “But they did have fun playing together.” Although the text could have used some paring down to match the fast pace of the illustrations, the energetic, cartoonish art deftly draws on comic art conventions to carry the narrative.

A winning theme for the early sports shelf. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-77147-061-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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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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A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history.

THE SCARECROW

Ferry and the Fans portray a popular seasonal character’s unlikely friendship.

Initially, the protagonist is shown in his solitary world: “Scarecrow stands alone and scares / the fox and deer, / the mice and crows. / It’s all he does. It’s all he knows.” His presence is effective; the animals stay outside the fenced-in fields, but the omniscient narrator laments the character’s lack of friends or places to go. Everything changes when a baby crow falls nearby. Breaking his pole so he can bend, the scarecrow picks it up, placing the creature in the bib of his overalls while singing a lullaby. Both abandon natural tendencies until the crow learns to fly—and thus departs. The aabb rhyme scheme flows reasonably well, propelling the narrative through fall, winter, and spring, when the mature crow returns with a mate to build a nest in the overalls bib that once was his home. The Fan brothers capture the emotional tenor of the seasons and the main character in their panoramic pencil, ballpoint, and digital compositions. Particularly poignant is the close-up of the scarecrow’s burlap face, his stitched mouth and leaf-rimmed head conveying such sadness after his companion goes. Some adults may wonder why the scarecrow seems to have only partial agency, but children will be tuned into the problem, gratified by the resolution.

A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-247576-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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