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A pitch-perfect introduction to gratitude, reflection, and the art of noticing.

In a busy city, a mother and child go on a meditative journey.

The title spread depicts the two protagonists, both beige-skinned and brown-haired, looking distressed as their car emits smoke. Soon, the two leave the broken-down vehicle, and Mama, undaunted, leads her apprehensive child on an impromptu adventure through the city. Worry is replaced by curiosity as the child narrates their experience. “Mama says: / you don’t need a map / to find grateful,” the little one tells us. “Grateful means / noticing / this thing / that thing / anything, really”—bending down to touch bright yellow flowers poking out from the gray sidewalk, smiling and waving to a friendly stranger, enjoying the cool spray of a sprinkler, chasing a boisterous puppy…even taking a tumble that causes sore knees and some tears. Comforted by Mama, the resilient little one continues to explore and then reflects on the simple moments of the day. Perhaps the young narrator has found “grateful” after all. White’s spare, lilting prose evokes the playfulness of this unexpected day with age-appropriate whimsy, using language such as “I tiptoe-lean” and “I stand tree-still.” Pray complements the text with soft, curved lines, a delicate pastel palette of pinks, blues, and greens, and varying perspectives that pinpoint tiny luminous details amid a bustling environment. This one’s just right for social-emotional storytimes.

A pitch-perfect introduction to gratitude, reflection, and the art of noticing. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 16, 2024

ISBN: 9781797211237

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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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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