A RIDE ON MOTHER'S BACK

In a work subtitled ``A Day of Baby Carrying Around the World,'' the Bernhards (The Way of the Willow Branch, p. 370, etc.) demonstrate the universal methods for keeping babies safe while people work and play. A West African baby sleeps on his mother's back while she fetches water; an Inuit baby nestles in the hood of his mother's parka as she fishes through the ice; a Peruvian baby rides in a shawl on her mother's back while the mother herds sheep in the Andes. The Bernhards visit 12 diverse cultures, examining the work of the adults from the point of view of small children who are along for the ride. This is an exquisite book, for the detailed, folk-art style gouache illustrations, its overall design, and the wealth of information it includes. World maps show the location of each featured parent and baby, who are discussed in a cultural context, with one full-page illustration and one attractive, bordered page of text. Many preschoolers won't sit still for all the facts, but they will love the pictures of babies sleeping, watching, participating; older children will find the information compelling and can locate more details in notes at the back. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-200870-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1996

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Vibrant photographs—especially action shots—will capture children’s attention, build language skills and, one hopes, start...

FAMILIES

“We hope this book…will lead children and their parents to engage in conversation about their families.”

So begins this good-sized book, which is packed with photographs of families of many different sizes, shapes, ages and colors (although most wear casual clothing familiar to most American children). Bold, colorful type announces: “There are all kinds of families.” Engaging photographs throughout complement a simple text that informs readers about differences—such as big vs. small; genders and generations of parents; adoption vs. birth children. Positive similarities follow, as families get together for celebrations and family members help one another out and enjoy activities together. Only childless families are excluded, but that can be forgiven by the book’s noble, stated goal. Kelly adds an endnote to further encourage parents: “Recently, research psychologists have found that children who developed a strong family narrative from speaking with their parents about family history and hearing family stories, both good and bad, exhibited greater self-esteem….” As the photographs’ emotional spectrum covers the tiny range from cheerful to exuberant, it’s an open question whether this will encourage or inhibit truthful family-history revelations. However, the emphatic ending will certainly start a dialogue: “There are many different kinds of families. What about yours?”

Vibrant photographs—especially action shots—will capture children’s attention, build language skills and, one hopes, start conversations. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: May 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3053-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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Ideal for any community where children count.

COUNTING ON COMMUNITY

A difficult concept is simply and strikingly illustrated for the very youngest members of any community, with a counting exercise to boot.

From the opening invitation, “Living in community, / it's a lot of FUN! / Lets count the ways. / Lets start with ONE,” Nagaro shows an urban community that is multicultural, supportive, and happy—exactly like the neighborhoods that many families choose to live and raise their children in. Text on every other page rhymes unobtrusively. Unlike the vocabulary found in A Is for Activist (2013), this book’s is entirely age-appropriate (though some parents might not agree that picketing is a way to show “that we care”). In A Is for Activist, a cat was hidden on each page; this time, finding the duck is the game. Counting is almost peripheral to the message. On the page with “Seven bikes and scooters and helmets to share,” identifying toys in an artistic heap is confusing. There is only one helmet for five toys, unless you count the second helmet worn by the girl riding a scooter—but then there are eight items, not seven. Seven helmets and seven toys would have been clearer. That quibble aside, Nagara's graphic design skills are evident, with deep colors, interesting angles, and strong lines, in a mix of digital collage and ink.

Ideal for any community where children count. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60980-632-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Triangle Square Books for Young Readers

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2016

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