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

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 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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From the Kissing Hand series

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original...

A sweetened, condensed version of the best-selling picture book, The Kissing Hand.

As in the original, Chester Raccoon is nervous about attending Owl’s night school (raccoons are nocturnal). His mom kisses him on the paw and reminds him, “With a Kissing Hand… / We’ll never be apart.” The text boils the story down to its key elements, causing this version to feel rushed. Gone is the list of fun things Chester will get to do at school. Fans of the original may be disappointed that this board edition uses a different illustrator. Gibson’s work is equally sentimental, but her renderings are stiff and flat in comparison to the watercolors of Harper and Leak. Very young readers will probably not understand that Owl’s tree, filled with opossums, a squirrel, a chipmunk and others, is supposed to be a school.

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original shouldn’t look to this version as replacement for their page-worn copies. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933718-77-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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From the Big Bright Feelings series

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance.

A boy with wings learns to be himself and inspires others like him to soar, too.

Norman, a “perfectly normal” boy, never dreamed he might grow wings. Afraid of what his parents might say, he hides his new wings under a big, stuffy coat. Although the coat hides his wings from the world, Norman no longer finds joy in bathtime, playing at the park, swimming, or birthday parties. With the gentle encouragement of his parents, who see his sadness, Norman finds the courage to come out of hiding and soar. Percival (The Magic Looking Glass, 2017, etc.) depicts Norman with light skin and dark hair. Black-and-white illustrations show his father with dark skin and hair and his mother as white. The contrast of black-and-white illustrations with splashes of bright color complements the story’s theme. While Norman tries to be “normal,” the world and people around him look black and gray, but his coat stands out in yellow. Birds pop from the page in pink, green, and blue, emphasizing the joy and beauty of flying free. The final spread, full of bright color and multiracial children in flight, sets the mood for Norman’s realization on the last page that there is “no such thing as perfectly normal,” but he can be “perfectly Norman.”

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-785-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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