Featuring peeks at common classroom sights and activities, this empathetic tale could also be a discussion starter about...

READ REVIEW

MING GOES TO SCHOOL

The first year of school for Ming is full of opposites and fun, but some things take time.

School is “where she learns to say hello… // and good-bye.” Flanked by her father, Ming surveys the friendly faces of her teacher and classmates; a turn of the page reveals Ming plastered to the window as her father’s silhouette recedes. She meets new friends and introduces old ones: her well-loved stuffed animal at show and tell. There are “pinkie-lifting tea parties” and walking the plank. But though Ming conquers all these new things, she’s just not ready for the big red slide: “growing up takes time.” As the year proceeds, the seasons turn in Löfdahl’s watercolor illustrations, which are soft, rounded, and slightly fuzzy. White backgrounds keep the focus on the characters and allow the brief text space of its own. Ming’s name implies Asian heritage. She has round eyes like all the other children, her skin is medium-toned, and she sports Pippi Longstocking braids in her dark hair. Her father appears white, and her classmates are diverse. School is “where all things… // are worth waiting for." The final, oval illustration pictures a smiling, confident Ming posed atop the slide in spring.

Featuring peeks at common classroom sights and activities, this empathetic tale could also be a discussion starter about growth and readiness. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5107-0050-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Sadly, the storytelling runs aground.

LITTLE RED SLEIGH

A little red sleigh has big Christmas dreams.

Although the detailed, full-color art doesn’t anthropomorphize the protagonist (which readers will likely identify as a sled and not a sleigh), a close third-person text affords the object thoughts and feelings while assigning feminine pronouns. “She longed to become Santa’s big red sleigh,” reads an early line establishing the sleigh’s motivation to leave her Christmas-shop home for the North Pole. Other toys discourage her, but she perseveres despite creeping self-doubt. A train and truck help the sleigh along, and when she wishes she were big, fast, and powerful like them, they offer encouragement and counsel patience. When a storm descends after the sleigh strikes out on her own, an unnamed girl playing in the snow brings her to a group of children who all take turns riding the sleigh down a hill. When the girl brings her home, the sleigh is crestfallen she didn’t reach the North Pole. A convoluted happily-ever-after ending shows a note from Santa that thanks the sleigh for giving children joy and invites her to the North Pole next year. “At last she understood what she was meant to do. She would build her life up spreading joy, one child at a time.” Will she leave the girl’s house to be gifted to other children? Will she stay and somehow also reach ever more children? Readers will be left wondering. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 31.8% of actual size.)

Sadly, the storytelling runs aground. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-72822-355-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more