Nothing original here, but this is an amusing-enough way of looking at the issue of becoming your own person

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GEORGE PEARCE AND HIS HUGE MASSIVE EARS

Do George’s big, round ears bring in too many opinions from the people around him?

This pinkish cartoony figure of a boy with black hair and very large circular protuberances coming out of his head has a problem (but it’s not the fact that his ears knock things over). He can hear “things on the sly. // But the trouble with hearing each word that is said… / Well, soon the words started to fill George’s head.” George can’t make any decisions. He spends too much time trying to decide if he likes pink or blue (after hearing children arguing over stereotypical gender choices) or which games or toys or names are his favorites (this British import uses British spellings, “colours” and “favourites”). When he encounters children and adults in public (both with realistic skin tones and with green and purple faces too), the words all meld together into “BLAH, BLAH, BLAH,” written all over the background in visual cacophony. Finally, George decides just to listen to himself. He chooses pink as his favorite color, selects his favorite toy and game, and picks his own name as the best. He discovers that when he is himself, other people can appreciate him too. The appealing digital illustrations with their childlike images and strong background colors are humorous, but the rhyming story is reminiscent of many others about self-esteem.

Nothing original here, but this is an amusing-enough way of looking at the issue of becoming your own person . (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-84780-794-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles.

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YOU MATTER

Employing a cast of diverse children reminiscent of that depicted in Another (2019), Robinson shows that every living entity has value.

After opening endpapers that depict an aerial view of a busy playground, the perspective shifts to a black child, ponytails tied with beaded elastics, peering into a microscope. So begins an exercise in perspective. From those bits of green life under the lens readers move to “Those who swim with the tide / and those who don’t.” They observe a “pest”—a mosquito biting a dinosaur, a “really gassy” planet, and a dog whose walker—a child in a pink hijab—has lost hold of the leash. Periodically, the examples are validated with the titular refrain. Textured paint strokes and collage elements contrast with uncluttered backgrounds that move from white to black to white. The black pages in the middle portion foreground scenes in space, including a black astronaut viewing Earth; the astronaut is holding an image of another black youngster who appears on the next spread flying a toy rocket and looking lonely. There are many such visual connections, creating emotional interest and invitations for conversation. The story’s conclusion spins full circle, repeating opening sentences with new scenarios. From the microscopic to the cosmic, word and image illuminate the message without a whiff of didacticism.

Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2169-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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A sweet and far-from-cloying ode to love.

THE LOVE LETTER

A mysterious love letter brightens the lives of three forest animals.

Appealing mixed-media illustrations made of ink, gouache, brush marker, and colored pencil combine with a timely message that one kind act can start a chain reaction of kindness. When Hedgehog, Bunny, and Squirrel stumble in turn upon a formally composed love letter, each finds their life improved: Squirrel is less anxious, Bunny spreads goodwill through helpfulness, and Hedgehog is unusually cheerful. As the friends converge to try to discover who sent the letter, the real author appears in a (rather) convenient turn: a mouse who wrote an ode to the moon. Though disappointed that the letter was never meant for them, the friends reflect that the letter still made the world a happier place, making it a “wonderful mix-up.” Since there’s a lot of plot to follow, the book will best serve more-observant readers who are able to piece the narrative cleanly, but those older readers may also better appreciate the special little touches, such as the letter’s enticing, old-fashioned typewriter-style look, vignettes that capture small moments, or the subdued color palette that lends an elegant air. Drawn with minimalist, scribbly lines, the creatures achieve an invigorating balance between charming and spontaneous, with smudged lines that hint at layers of fur and simple, dotted facial expressions.

A sweet and far-from-cloying ode to love. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-274157-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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