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MY FIRST I SEE YOU

A MIRROR BOOK

From the World of Eric Carle series

Carle’s illustrations are lovely as always, but this repackaging seems unnecessary—more marketing ploy than essential...

Carle’s iconic illustrations are recycled for a new generation of toddlers.

As she did in My First Peek-a-Boo Animals (2017) and My First Busy Book (2015), designer Hannah Frece has chosen images from the Eric Carle backlist to illustrate a simple board book. This time mirrors have been added to images on the right-hand side of each spread. If the book is held just right, the child’s face is reflected within the outline of a cloud, a sun, a tree, a moon, and a star. (Sticky fingers quickly scratch and smudge the mirrors.) A heart-shaped cutout on the cover reveals the first mirror and complements the butterflies on the first-page verso. Rhyming stanzas starting with “I see you in…” are completed by a description of an appropriate action. So a butterfly “flutters so high,” clouds “float across the sky,” a lion “roars,” the sun “shines,” a monkey “swings,” and so on. Some actions, seemingly forced by the need to rhyme, may puzzle young children. Do puppies really play peekaboo? The final double-page spread invites children to repeat each action. After one reading most toddlers will already be fluttering, roaring, and waving along, but the reprise is a reminder that reading with toddlers should be an interactive experience.

Carle’s illustrations are lovely as always, but this repackaging seems unnecessary—more marketing ploy than essential purchase. (Board book. 6 mos.-2)

Pub Date: July 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2454-8

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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THE ONE AND ONLY FAMILY

From the One and Only series , Vol. 4

Not the most satisfying wrap-up, but it’s always good to spend time in the world of this series.

Beloved gorilla Ivan becomes a father to rambunctious twins in this finale to a quartet that began with 2012’s Newbery Award–winning The One and Only Ivan.

Life hasn’t always been easy for silverback gorilla Ivan, who’s spent most of his life being mistreated in captivity. Now he’s living in a wildlife sanctuary, but he still gets to see his two best friends. Young elephant Ruby lives in the grassy habitat next door, and former stray dog Bob has a home with one of the zookeepers. All three were rescued from the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade. Ivan’s expanded world includes fellow gorilla Kinyani—the two are about to become parents, and Ivan is revisiting the traumas of his past in light of what he wants the twins to know. When the subject inevitably comes up, Applegate’s trust and respect for readers is evident. She doesn’t shy away from hard truths as Ivan wrestles with the fact that poachers killed his family. Readers will need the context provided by knowledge of the earlier books to feel the full emotional impact of this story. The rushed ending unfortunately falls flat, detracting from the central message that a complex life can still contain hope. Final art not seen.

Not the most satisfying wrap-up, but it’s always good to spend time in the world of this series. (gorilla games, glossary, author’s note) (Verse fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 7, 2024

ISBN: 9780063221123

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 9, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

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CARPENTER'S HELPER

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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