Engaging as well as a nice springboard for creative play.



Where would you like to live? Just imagine….

Ten fanciful four-line poems each imagine a different kind of home, one per double-page spread. “Build me an ice palace” imagines a dancing bear, a polite penguin serving refreshments, and a tall staircase with a curving banister suitable for sliding down. The imagined “library” has “a roof made of glass” so that children can lie on the floor and read all day and at night “watch stars shooting past.” The castle has a big golden tower, and “We’ll have a pet dragon… / To scare off passersby.” Many different faces (human and animal) peer out of the square windows of the skyscraper, where “We’ll play hide-and-seek, / Behind all the doors.” A cat sits behind the controls of the big submarine (yellow, natch), “With gadgets galore.” The rocket features beds that can fly. Ultimately, the nicest home of all is a simple house, with room for everyone: “We’ll all live together— / That’s the best home of all.” A final long (two-page) verse suggests numerous ways to play at house-building with makeshift components such as chairs, an umbrella, cushions, or a blanket. Bannister’s repeated invocation, “Build me a…” sets a lovely dreaming tone. Sanfelippo’s illustrations are appropriately busy and colorful, cheerfully populated with diverse humans and animals, but some of the architectural features mentioned are not particularly well-realized.

Engaging as well as a nice springboard for creative play. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-61067-772-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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It takes a village to make a school. In Chad, big brothers and sisters lead the way for younger children on the first day of school. Little Thomas is full of questions. When he and the other children arrive, there are no classrooms and no desks. But the teacher's there, holding a trowel. "We will build our school," she declares. Everyone sets to work, making mud bricks that dry in the sun and a roof out of grass and saplings. Thomas loves his lessons; every day he learns something new. At the end of the school year, the minds of the students "are fat with knowledge." And just in time: The rainy season arrives and makes short work of the schoolhouse. Come September, they'll start all over. Rumford's illustrations make great use of color, dark brown skin and bright shirts, shorts and dresses against golden backgrounds, the hues applied in smudgy layers that infuse each scene with warmth—until the gray rains arrive. It's a nifty social-studies lesson tucked into a warm tale of community. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-547-24307-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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