It’s possible that readers accustomed to more stimulating entertainment won’t enjoy slowing down, but simpler souls will...

READ REVIEW

THE TALE OF THE LITTLE, LITTLE OLD WOMAN

A picture-book classic translated from the Swedish.

First published over a century ago, Beskow’s tale of the little, little old woman highlights changing tastes in picture-book styles more than anything. Resembling early Tasha Tudor crossed with Carl Larsson and a bit of Beatrix Potter, this story eschews sophisticated storyline and complex visuals. A "little, little old woman" lives in a "little, little cottage" with a “little, little cat” and little, little furniture. She also has a "little, little cow"—well, readers get the idea. The woman milks the cow, the cat drinks the milk, and the woman banishes the cat from the house. The uncomplicated illustrations, enclosed within a circular border, are on the recto, while the simple text is placed on the verso. A few spot illustrations also decorate the text page. While the presentation may seem sedate and even boring to modern eyes used to clever storylines and dramatic visuals, the overall effect is the opposite. Sure, nothing much happens, but the languid pace and bucolic illustrations harken back to a rose-colored–glasses time and exude charm and simplicity. Besides, the illustrations are brimming with attractive Swedish style: Red geraniums bloom on white-curtained windowsills, and rustic blue-painted furniture beckons. 

It’s possible that readers accustomed to more stimulating entertainment won’t enjoy slowing down, but simpler souls will most likely breathe a contented sigh. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-7825-0094-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Floris

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The joys of counting combine with pretty art and homage to Goodnight Moon.

GOODNIGHT, NUMBERS

This bedtime book offers simple rhymes, celebrates the numbers one through 10, and encourages the counting of objects.

Each double-page spread shows a different toddler-and-caregiver pair, with careful attention to different skin tones, hair types, genders, and eye shapes. The pastel palette and soft, rounded contours of people and things add to the sleepy litany of the poems, beginning with “Goodnight, one fork. / Goodnight, one spoon. / Goodnight, one bowl. / I’ll see you soon.” With each number comes a different part in a toddler’s evening routine, including dinner, putting away toys, bathtime, and a bedtime story. The white backgrounds of the pages help to emphasize the bold representations of the numbers in both written and numerical forms. Each spread gives multiple opportunities to practice counting to its particular number; for example, the page for “four” includes four bottles of shampoo and four inlaid dots on a stool—beyond the four objects mentioned in the accompanying rhyme. Each home’s décor, and the array and types of toys and accoutrements within, shows a decidedly upscale, Western milieu. This seems compatible with the patronizing author’s note to adults, which accuses “the media” of indoctrinating children with fear of math “in our country.” Regardless, this sweet treatment of numbers and counting may be good prophylaxis against math phobia.

The joys of counting combine with pretty art and homage to Goodnight Moon. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-93378-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more