An informative, easy-to-follow, pleasing lesson in readying wool for knitting.

SPIN A SCARF OF SUNSHINE

A family embraces the Earth and its resources in this Scottish import.

In an appealing bucolic setting, a young girl named Nari feeds her lamb as they are surrounded by chicks, hens, and flowers. Her parents, mother holding a baby, are close by. As the year goes on, the lamb grows bigger, and the affection between girl and animal continues. When spring comes, Nari’s father shears the sheep, and the process of making wool begins. Step by step, Nari and her mother wash the wool, card it, spin it, dye it “yellow as summer sunshine,” and begin knitting. It’s not an easy task for the girl. A big hole appears in her work, but the scarf is completed in time for winter frolics in the snow. Time passes. Nari and her baby sibling have grown; the scarf goes into the compost, which goes into the soil, which enriches the grass, which feeds a lamb. Nari now knits a scarf with her little sister watching attentively under the spreading leaves of a big tree. A penultimate double-page spread details the steps involved in making wool, with helpful numbering and arrows. The text is straightforward, with occasional lyrical repetition. Display text highlights actions and/or onomatopoeia; when Nari digs the compost into the earth, for instance, large italicized letters emphasize the action: “Dig—dig.” Delicate, colorful illustrations fill each page with pretty people, cute animals, and idyllic scenes. Nari and her sister are biracial, with an East Asian mom and White dad.

An informative, easy-to-follow, pleasing lesson in readying wool for knitting. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-78250-658-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Floris

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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THIS BOOK IS GRAY

A gray character tries to write an all-gray book.

The six primary and secondary colors are building a rainbow, each contributing the hue of their own body, and Gray feels forlorn and left out because rainbows contain no gray. So Gray—who, like the other characters, has a solid, triangular body, a doodle-style face, and stick limbs—sets off alone to create “the GRAYest book ever.” His book inside a book shows a peaceful gray cliff house near a gray sea with gentle whitecaps; his three gray characters—hippo, wolf, kitten—wait for their arc to begin. But then the primaries arrive and call the gray scene “dismal, bleak, and gloomy.” The secondaries show up too, and soon everyone’s overrunning Gray’s creation. When Gray refuses to let White and Black participate, astute readers will note the flaw: White and black (the colors) had already been included in the early all-gray spreads. Ironically, Gray’s book within a book displays calm, passable art while the metabook’s unsubtle illustrations and sloppy design make for cramped and crowded pages that are too busy to hold visual focus. The speech-bubble dialogue’s snappy enough (Blue calls people “dude,” and there are puns). A convoluted moral muddles the core artistic question—whether a whole book can be gray—and instead highlights a trite message about working together.

Low grade. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4340-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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A quiet, warm look at the bond between grandfather and grandson.

MAX AND THE TAG-ALONG MOON

After a visit, an African-American grandfather and grandson say farewell under a big yellow moon. Granpa tells Max it is the same moon he will see when he gets home.

This gently told story uses Max’s fascination with the moon’s ability to “tag along” where his family’s car goes as a metaphor for his grandfather’s constant love. Separating the two relatives is “a swervy-curvy road” that travels up and down hills, over a bridge, “past a field of sleeping cows,” around a small town and through a tunnel. No matter where Max travels, the moon is always there, waiting around a curve or peeking through the trees. But then “[d]ark clouds tumbled across the night sky.” No stars, no nightingales and no moon are to be found. Max frets: “Granpa said it would always shine for me.” Disappointed, Max climbs into bed, missing both the moon and his granpa. In a dramatic double-page spread, readers see Max’s excitement as “[s]lowly, very slowly, Max’s bedroom began to fill with a soft yellow glow.” Cooper uses his signature style to illustrate both the landscape—sometimes viewed from the car windows or reflected in the vehicle’s mirror—and the expressive faces of his characters. Coupled with the story’s lyrical text, this is a lovely mood piece.

A quiet, warm look at the bond between grandfather and grandson. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-23342-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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