HELLO, MOON

Learning, empathy, and wonder in an ever shifting luminous landscape.

A look at the many faces and phases of the moon and a child’s understanding of the natural world.

A child with beige skin and curly dark hair points out the window at the full moon, eager to go say hello. Together, the child and a caregiver bundle up against the wintry chill and head out on the first of many nocturnal jaunts to explore the various shapes and phases of the moon. One night, the child expresses concern about the disappearing moon. The caregiver reassures the child that all is well (“It sounds like the Moon is feeling shy. Should we go out and say hello?”), and the two sit with and comfort the moon as it slowly disappears over a period of two weeks, a process depicted in graphic novel–like panels. In an unexpected surprise, the child and caregiver appear etched white against a moonless blue-purple sky. Loose lines and expressive faces convey the closeness between the child and caregiver. Though the text is quiet and fairly straightforward, striking angles and perspectives keep each spread vibrant and eye-catching. Orblike shapes echo throughout the book—for instance, the child’s head. Warm reds, yellows, and purples used to portray indoor scenes transform into thinner, flatter hues in the cold moonlight, and a marbleized texture lends depth and movement to each illustration. This one pairs well with Jane Yolen’s Owl Moon (1987), illustrated by John Schoenherr, with a unique art style perfect for bedtime and library storytime alike, with age-appropriate STEM opportunities as well. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Learning, empathy, and wonder in an ever shifting luminous landscape. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0080-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: June 7, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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