BOOK! BOOK! BOOK!

The sounds of the barnyard—and the surprising likeness some of them hold to the English language—are introduced in this brisk and atmospheric picture book from a clever newcomer. When the kids pack up and return to school, the farm animals get a little bored; then the hen suggests a trip into town to see what’s happening. So a sampling of animals troops along until they see some smiling faces leaving a building: the library. Before the hen has a chance to go inside and investigate, the horse says, “You’re too small for such a big job. Leave it to me.” The horse goes in and asks for something to do, but all the librarian hears is “neigh, neigh.” The goat, pig, and cow get the same blank look from the librarian for all their baaahs, oinks, and moos. Thus it is left to the hen and her “book, book, book” to get the message across. Home again, all are content with the books until the frog notes that he “read it, read it.” Observant readers will have noticed that, in fact, he has. Simple, gladdening word fun, set in Beeke’s (The Brand New Creature, 1998) charming watercolor and acrylic scenes of familiar farm and library activities filled with just the right details. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-439-13525-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2001

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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PRINCESSES WEAR PANTS

This book wants to be feminist.

Princess Penelope Pineapple, illustrated as a white girl with dark hair and eyes, is the Amelia Bloomer of the Pineapple Kingdom. She has dresses, but she prefers to wear pants as she engages in myriad activities ranging from yoga to gardening, from piloting a plane to hosting a science fair. When it’s time for the Pineapple Ball, she imagines wearing a sparkly pants outfit, but she worries about Grand Lady Busyboots’ disapproval: “ ‘Pants have no place on a lady!’ she’d say. / ‘That’s how it has been, and that’s how it shall stay.’ ” In a moment of seeming dissonance between the text and art, Penny seems to resolve to wear pants, but then she shows up to the ball in a gown. This apparent contradiction is resolved when the family cat, Miss Fussywiggles, falls from the castle into the moat and Princess Penelope saves her—after stripping off her gown to reveal pink, flowered swimming trunks and a matching top. Impressed, Grand Lady Busyboots resolves that princesses can henceforth wear whatever they wish. While seeing a princess as savior rather than damsel in distress may still seem novel, it seems a stretch to cast pants-wearing as a broadly contested contemporary American feminist issue. Guthrie and Oppenheim’s unimaginative, singsong rhyme is matched in subtlety by Byrne’s bright illustrations.

Skip it . (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2603-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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