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From the Highlights Books of Kindness series

Useful and jolly.

A tribute to human kindness, empathy, and mutual support.

In double-page spreads on unusually large board-book pages, different scenarios present preschoolers with a variety of ways to demonstrate acting in concert. A White family, including a very large dog, works together to clean up a large kitchen spill. A group of diverse kids helps a White friend who uses a wheelchair find a lost blanket. Two children, one White and one with dark hair and medium-brown skin, help a brown-skinned, hijab-wearing grown-up retrieve toys dropped by a stroller-riding tyke. The art is graphically clean and clear, with simple cartoon faces and geometric swaths of solid colors against white backgrounds; clear attention has been paid to diversity of racial presentation, gender presentation, and ability. A child with cochlear implants with straight black hair and medium-brown skin can be seen in two of the spreads, and a White child with light-brown hair wears glasses—even, strangely enough, in bed. The project ends with the youngsters in bed dreaming of all the good accomplished during the day. The following page includes quotes from 5- and 6 year-olds and the author describing things they have done to make the world a better place. The didactic nature of the text gets laid on a bit thick with the repetition of the “We’re better together…” refrain in every scene, but the lively art adds much-needed cheer.

Useful and jolly. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64472-328-9

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Highlights Press

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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From the My World series

Tots may enjoy flipping the emojis, but most of the scenarios presented miss opportunities to foster emotional literacy.

Youngsters are invited to explore their reactions to a variety of things through photo illustrations and spinning emojis affixed to the book.

A rectangular, die-cut hole appears down the outside of each page of the book to make space for a sturdy plastic pole with three, flat, circular wooden beads threaded through it. Each side of these beads bears a different cartoon facial expression, including happy, sad, angry, surprised, calm, and confused, and young readers can flip them to suit their moods. The project starts off with one wordy paragraph, but most of the text is composed of direct queries and positive affirmations. Between the die-cut rectangles, clear photos of people, animals, and situations appear on sparsely illustrated backgrounds. The children are babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary children of diverse racial presentations along with sundry adults, including a stereotype-defying Black woman dentist. One Asian toddler uses hearing aids, and one of the White children looks to have Down syndrome. Only one double-page spread asks children how they feel about various situations, such as going to school, the dentist, the doctor, and to a birthday party. The rest of the queries ask children how they feel about weather, foods, activities, and animals; they may not generate particularly rich emotional conversations. The project ends with a cluster of children making various expressions and a Mylar mirror embedded in the final page with an invitation to answer the question: “How do you feel today?”

Tots may enjoy flipping the emojis, but most of the scenarios presented miss opportunities to foster emotional literacy. (Novelty board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68010-655-8

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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From the Big Ideas for Little Philosophers series , Vol. 5

A sweet approach to encouraging meaningful discussions.

Using the teachings of Confucius, this book presents young children with ways to practice kindness.

The Big Ideas for Little Philosophers series uses the reflections of well-known philosophers as a guide to encourage more thoughtful and positive attitudes in young children. It sounds like an overly ambitious and perhaps not age-appropriate vehicle, and yet the authors have managed to distill these teachings on kindness in a simple and accessible manner for child readers. This entry begins by introducing young readers to Confucius and the Confucian virtue of “ren” which denotes humaneness. Children are encouraged to use their own feelings as a guide to “help others feel the way we like to feel.” Delightfully, some questions invite reflection without providing pat answers—such as, “If someone leaves you out of a game, how does that make you feel?” and “How can you be helpful today?” We read that all people deserve kindness, and the colorful, friendly, attractive illustrations underscore this idea by depicting racially diverse people of all ages as well as differently abled children. A companion volume, Love With Plato, deals with ideas that are more abstract and, therefore, more complex, inviting children to think rather than act. We read that we can love things we can see but that “Plato said it is most important to love ideas, like GOODNESS, TRUTH, AND BEAUTY.” Text and illustrations depict examples of all three followed by a prompt that asks readers to consider what is important in their own lives.

A sweet approach to encouraging meaningful discussions. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-32295-6

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2021

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