A work of understated beauty that will delight both children and the adults who read to them.

WE ARE ALL UNDER ONE WIDE SKY

This lyrical counting book is a reminder that no matter what they look like, where they live, or whom they call a family, children all around the world live under the same sky.

The book’s first half is a poem that counts from one up to 10, incorporating imagery ranging from two clouds and three songbirds to ten whirligigs. In the second half of the book, the poem counts back down to one, this time starting with nine shadows and culminating with two “sleepyheads” before ending “under one wide sky,” a refrain that repeatedly pulls the text together. While no countries or faiths are named, the characters and locations in the illustrations clearly hail from all over the world. In one illustration, for example, a young boy wears a yarmulke while in another, an image of what appears to be Australia’s Uluru fills the background. The characters include a child who appears Black, a brown-skinned hijabi, and other kids displaying a variety of hair textures and skin colors. The sparse verse, related in couplets, is studded with gorgeous imagery and ingeniously chosen verbs: On one page, for example, the author describes how shadows “butter” the ground. The illustrator’s use of a muted palette lends the pictures a gentle, ethereal feel that ably complements the text.

A work of understated beauty that will delight both children and the adults who read to them. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: June 15, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68364-633-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sounds True

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for...

OLIVER AND HIS EGG

Oliver, of first-day-of-school alligator fame, is back, imagining adventures and still struggling to find balance between introversion and extroversion.

“When Oliver found his egg…” on the playground, mint-green backgrounds signifying Oliver’s flight into fancy slowly grow larger until they take up entire spreads; Oliver’s creature, white and dinosaurlike with orange polka dots, grows larger with them. Their adventures include sharing treats, sailing the seas and going into outer space. A classmate’s yell brings him back to reality, where readers see him sitting on top of a rock. Even considering Schmid’s scribbly style, readers can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he ponders the girl and whether or not to give up his solitary play. “But when Oliver found his rock… // Oliver imagined many adventures // with all his friends!” This last is on a double gatefold that opens to show the children enjoying the creature’s slippery curves. A final wordless spread depicts all the children sitting on rocks, expressions gleeful, wondering, waiting, hopeful. The illustrations, done in pastel pencil and digital color, again make masterful use of white space and page turns, although this tale is not nearly as funny or tongue-in-cheek as Oliver and His Alligator (2013), nor is its message as clear and immediately accessible to children.

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for all children but sadly isn’t. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7573-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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