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THE NICE BOOK by David Ezra Stein


by David Ezra Stein & illustrated by David Ezra Stein

Age Range: 2 - 5

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-399-25050-7
Publisher: Putnam

Emotional literacy at its most basic. “Cuddle / nestle / nuzzle / Don’t tickle / ...well, maybe a little.” A variety of animals from bugs to elephants practice what it takes to be nice, demonstrating the actions in seemingly simple vignettes placed against flat, monochromatic backgrounds. There’s plenty of humor here: A family of koalas clings together, three babies stacked, one on the other, hugging mama, who in turn hugs her eucalyptus tree; a nervous lemur looks askance at an elephant about to “pat,” as, below, the text reads, “But don’t stomp flat.” The images were created with a mix of acrylic paints, ink and china marker, combined digitally—the effect is beautifully childlike. The animals’ bodies are great blobs of paint, the broad brushstrokes clearly visible in a manner any kid who’s used poster paints will recognize; their features are sketched quickly in with swift black lines placed just so. Although the trim is small, the images will be clearly visible for group sharing, and the playfully varied typefaces add extra interest to the compositions. Nice indeed. (Picture book. 2-5)