This sweetly unruly book is destined for mud-stained and ripped pages, as it is sure to accompany many a child on wild...

READ REVIEW

RUN WILD

A child’s world appears in black and white—body indoors and face fixed to a screen—until another child zips by with an invitation to join in a barefoot ramble through the untamed outdoors.

To rhythmic, clipped verse, the pair runs, jumps, and swims through forest and water scenes. They pause to play, to pretend, and to savor. But it’s not all sunshine. A pop-up storm serves as a metaphor for life’s mixed weather patterns. “Rain dumps. / There’ll be slippery slumps. / Bruises. Bumps… / and ROTTEN STUMPS!” The storm passes and the sun returns, so the adventure continues. Covell’s illustrations are exuberant, projecting to readers the raw joy and wonder of exploring the natural world. Thick strokes of what looks like watercolor bleed past bold crayon outlines, creating a delightfully messy sense of movement. This pace matches the staccato rhythm of the fast-flowing rhyming text. The skin tones of the children shift through various shades of beige and brown. Though Covell’s intention for the racial ambiguity is unclear, this inclusion of brown-skinned children encouraged to run “wild” in green spaces is a hugely welcome one given their historic exclusion from same.

This sweetly unruly book is destined for mud-stained and ripped pages, as it is sure to accompany many a child on wild adventures in their own parks, playgrounds, and backyards. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-670-01411-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

I AM ENOUGH

A feel-good book about self-acceptance.

Empire star Byers and Bobo offer a beautifully illustrated, rhyming picture book detailing what one brown-skinned little girl with an impressive Afro appreciates about herself. Relying on similes, the text establishes a pattern with the opening sentence, “Like the sun, I’m here to shine,” and follows it through most of the book. Some of them work well, while others fall flat: “Like the rain, I’m here to pour / and drip and fall until I’m full.” In some vignettes she’s by herself; and in others, pictured along with children of other races. While the book’s pro-diversity message comes through, the didactic and even prideful expressions of self-acceptance make the book exasperatingly preachy—a common pitfall for books by celebrity authors. In contrast, Bobo’s illustrations are visually stunning. After painting the children and the objects with which they interact, such as flowers, books, and a red wagon, in acrylic on board for a traditional look, she scanned the images into Adobe Photoshop and added the backgrounds digitally in chalk. This lends a whimsical feel to such details as a rainbow, a window, wind, and rain—all reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Bobo creates an inclusive world of girls in which wearing glasses, using a wheelchair, wearing a head scarf, and having a big Afro are unconditionally accepted rather than markers for othering.

A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266712-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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