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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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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