Fans of Pout-Pout Fish will get a new perspective in this back-to-school title that shows even adults get nervous when...

POUT-POUT FISH BACK TO SCHOOL

From the Pout-Pout Fish series

Mr. Fish provides a glimpse of a substitute teacher’s first day of school.

Though it’s not the official first day of school for everyone, it is the first day Mr. Fish will be a sub. At the school entrance, he meets a small, nervous little fry wearing glasses who is just starting school. Pout-Pout Fish tells him they will have to help each other, and they do, each one drawing on his own confidence and skills when the other is lacking. Mr. Fish remembers where the classroom is, and the fry breaks the ice for the nervous teacher by asking him to tell the class about his own school days. Mr. Fish shares his lunch when the little fish realizes he’s forgotten his, and the fry invites Mr. Fish to play with the students at recess (their ball is the clam they all recently sat with at lunch). It’s a successful day for everyone. Hanna’s cartoon illustrations share the same animation aesthetic that marks the series. This is meant for a younger crowd than the original Pout-Pout Fish books, and this title includes sheets of stickers in the front and back (evidently for general decoration, as there is no indication they should be applied to the book).

Fans of Pout-Pout Fish will get a new perspective in this back-to-school title that shows even adults get nervous when facing the new and unknown. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-374-31047-9

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world.

YOU ARE HOME WITH ME

This reassuring picture book exemplifies how parents throughout the animal kingdom make homes for their offspring.

The narrative is written from the point of view of a parent talking to their child: “If you were a beaver, I would gnaw on trees with my teeth to build a cozy lodge for us to sleep in during the day.” Text appears in big, easy-to-read type, with the name of the creature in boldface. Additional facts about the animal appear in a smaller font, such as: “Beavers have transparent eyelids to help them see under water.” The gathering of land, air, and water animals includes a raven, a flying squirrel, and a sea lion. “Home” might be a nest, a den, or a burrow. One example, of a blue whale who has homes in the north and south (ocean is implied), will help children stretch the concept into feeling at home in the larger world. Illustrations of the habitats have an inviting luminosity. Mature and baby animals are realistically depicted, although facial features appear to have been somewhat softened, perhaps to appeal to young readers. The book ends with the comforting scene of a human parent and child silhouetted in the welcoming lights of the house they approach: “Wherever you may be, you will always have a home with me.”

Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world. (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63217-224-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Exciting artwork paired with disappointingly dull text.

KINDNESS GROWS

Rhyming verses about kindness using a consistent metaphor of widening cracks versus blooming plants are amplified by cutouts on each page.

The art and layout are spectacular, from the cover through the double-page spreads near the end. Racially diverse toddlers are shown engaging in various moods and behaviors, some of which create unhappiness and some of which lead to friendship and happiness. Every page’s color palette and composition perfectly complement the narrative. The initial verso shows two children in aggressive stances, backgrounded by a dark, partly moonlit sky. Between them is a slender, crooked cutout. The large-type text reads: “It all / starts / with a / crack / that we can hardly see. / It happens when we shout / or if we disagree.” The recto shows two children in sunlight, with one offering a pretty leaf to the other, and the rhyme addresses the good that grows from kindness. In this image, the crooked die cut forms the trunk of a tiny sapling. Until the final double-page spreads, the art follows this clever setup: dark deeds and a crack on the left, and good deeds and a growing tree on the right. Unfortunately, the text is far from the equal of the art: It is banal and preachy, and it does not even scan well without some effort on the part of whomever is reading it. Still, the youngest children will solemnly agree with the do’s and don’ts, and they may decide to memorize a page or two.

Exciting artwork paired with disappointingly dull text. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68010-229-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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