A fine choice for young readers on a cold winter night, especially when enjoyed with a cup of hot chocolate in front of a...

LADYBUG GIRL AND THE BIG SNOW

From the Ladybug Girl series

In the latest adventure in the popular Ladybug Girl series, Lulu and her basset hound, Bingo, enjoy a day of play outside in freshly fallen snow.

Lulu sets off for a winter ramble in her customary all-red clothing, coordinated from her ladybug-antenna earmuffs to her polka-dot boots. At first, she and Bingo romp through the snow in casual play, but then Ladybug Girl shifts into superhero mode and finds her own challenges in creating a snow-castle sculpture and attempting to plow through deep snow to climb a hill. When Lulu and Bingo reach the top of the hill, they find that their attempted snow sculpture looks just like Bingo. Lulu’s older brother is impressed with the quality of her sculpture, and they create more snow animals before returning home together. The story incorporates creative, dramatic ideas into Lulu’s outdoor play that will appeal to young children’s imaginations. Soman’s appealing watercolor-and-ink illustrations enhance Lulu’s spunky personality as well as that of her faithful companion, and his snow-covered scenes with hazy blue shadows capture the frosty feel of outdoor play in winter months.

A fine choice for young readers on a cold winter night, especially when enjoyed with a cup of hot chocolate in front of a fire like the one Ladybug Girl, Bingo and her brother curl up in front of. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3583-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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As insubstantial as hot air.

THE WORLD NEEDS WHO YOU WERE MADE TO BE

A diverse cast of children first makes a fleet of hot air balloons and then takes to the sky in them.

Lifestyle maven Gaines uses this activity as a platform to celebrate diversity in learning and working styles. Some people like to work together; others prefer a solo process. Some take pains to plan extensively; others know exactly what they want and jump right in. Some apply science; others demonstrate artistic prowess. But “see how beautiful it can be when / our differences share the same sky?” Double-page spreads leading up to this moment of liftoff are laid out such that rhyming abcb quatrains typically contain one or two opposing concepts: “Some of us are teachers / and share what we know. / But all of us are learners. / Together is how we grow!” In the accompanying illustration, a bespectacled, Asian-presenting child at a blackboard lectures the other children on “balloon safety.” Gaines’ text has the ring of sincerity, but the sentiment is hardly an original one, and her verse frequently sacrifices scansion for rhyme. Sometimes it abandons both: “We may not look / or work or think the same, / but we all have an / important part to play.” Swaney’s delicate, pastel-hued illustrations do little to expand on the text, but they are pretty. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11.2-by-18.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 70.7% of actual size.)

As insubstantial as hot air. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4003-1423-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tommy Nelson

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2021

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