Captivating visuals will prompt conversations about the feelings and choices of victim, friend, and community

RAIN BOY

Glynn introduces Rain Boy and Sun Kidd—and then presents children’s contrasting reactions to their essences.

The young people are glum or angry when Rain Boy, depicted as a puffy, blue cloud, drips on their outdoor play. Sun, a glowing girl of color, is welcomed happily, however. The tension between the two climaxes during her birthday, when Rain Boy’s presence floods the basement, threatening the cake and presents. The guests encircle the cloud, crying: “Rain, Rain, go away!” Sun escapes to her room. Glynn’s watercolor, cut-paper, pastel, and colored-pencil caricatures and tableaux channel both a delightfully childlike aesthetic and emotionally charged expressionism. Sun’s bed is draped in golden curtains in the upper corner of a space defined by the strong diagonals of a wrought-iron balcony and foreshortened ladder. A black, starry sky frames the yellow/orange interior, which is dominated by a Calder-esque mobile. After Rain Boy storms off, the downpour continues until the children start appreciating both one another and puddles. This coaxes the celestial protagonists outside, where a rainbow appears: “So next time you’re feeling down and your world is dark and gray…just look up.” As convenient and lovely as this spread is, the message does not quite apply to Rain Boy, nor is it completely transferable to an ostracized reader, thus sapping the book of some of its logic and power.

Captivating visuals will prompt conversations about the feelings and choices of victim, friend, and community .(Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7280-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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A winning tale about finding new friends.

FOUND

Bear finds a wonderful toy.

Bear clearly loves the toy bunny that he has found sitting up against a tree in the forest, but he wants to help it return to its home. With a wagon full of fliers and the bunny secure in Bear’s backpack, he festoons the trees with posters and checks out a bulletin board filled with lost and found objects (some of which will bring a chuckle to adult readers). Alas, he returns home still worried about bunny. The following day, they happily play together and ride Bear’s tricycle. Into the cozy little picture steps Moose, who immediately recognizes his bunny, named Floppy. Bear has a tear in his eye as he watches Moose and Floppy hug. But Moose, wearing a tie, is clearly grown and knows that it is time to share and that Bear will take very good care of his Floppy. Yoon’s story is sweet without being sentimental. She uses digitized artwork in saturated colors to create a lovely little world for her animals. They are outlined in strong black lines and stand out against the yellows, blues, greens and oranges of the background. She also uses space to great effect, allowing readers to feel the emotional tug of the story.

A winning tale about finding new friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8027-3559-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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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

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