From the first page to the last, this inventive, beautifully illustrated tale affirms a child’s value.

IN THE MIRROR

Two siblings embrace their own self-worth in this picture book.

Two brown-skinned, curly-haired siblings start their day looking in the mirror. In first-person narration, each says: “I just love what I see….” Beginning with that positive self-image—that their reflections are beautiful—the rhyming text continues describing how each part of the face shows an aspect of the child’s character. A wrinkled, sweaty brow represents both fun and hard work. Between the kids’ ears are always-working brains; their eyes are filled with visions of future dreams; and their noses smell “my greatness.” While they experience setbacks—an embarrassing grade, a scraped chin—the children know they have powerful voices and walk with pride. Ferguson’s smooth, rhyming stanzas employ imaginative turns of phrase and use facial features to evoke more than just the common senses associated with eyes, ears, and noses. Instead, they showcase emotions, accomplishments, and creativity to excellent effect. A few words (embarrassed, defined) may help stretch the vocabularies of emerging readers. Aryutova’s cartoon illustrations are at once realistic and whimsical, deftly capturing the emotional intent of the rhymes and creating two incredibly likable protagonists. Athletics, the sciences, the visual and performing arts, and innovative play are all portrayed as virtuous parts of the lives of the protagonists, showcasing well-rounded likes and dreams sure to appeal to a wide range of readers.

From the first page to the last, this inventive, beautifully illustrated tale affirms a child’s value.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: F.Ferguson Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

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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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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