Kindness begets kindness and pays it forward: a timely, urgent message for all ages.

LITTLE BOOK OF KINDNESS

Kindness makes the world go round—and makes it better.

Spare text speaks meaningfully about how small acts of kindness and thoughtfulness can make big differences, both in others’ lives and in one’s own. Imported from Belgium and the Netherlands, this slim, compact offering, just the right size for little hands, says just the right things about the myriad ways one can be kind, all enacted by a sweet, young pig in a yellow jersey and shorts. An act of kindness is stated on a verso page with a wordless illustration facing it, followed by a double-page illustration showing the consequences of the kind act. For instance, the admonition “Offer a smile” faces an illustration of a dejected rabbit; the accompanying spread depicts the pig greeting the rabbit with a big grin and then a cheery, smiley rabbit continuing on its way. The simple, sweet illustrations, rendered in black and white with judicious pops of color, are fine conversational springboards; lapsitters and kids in group read-aloud sessions will enjoy interpreting what’s happening in the pictures. Some require a bit of thought; the pig looking dismayed at a wheeled trash can with a bit of litter next to it suggests a story that is upended with the turn of the page and its retrieval of a black kitten from within the can.

Kindness begets kindness and pays it forward: a timely, urgent message for all ages. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-60537-533-5

Page Count: 50

Publisher: Clavis

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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A solid if message-driven conversation starter about the hard parts of learning.

THE MAGICAL YET

Children realize their dreams one step at a time in this story about growth mindset.

A child crashes and damages a new bicycle on a dark, rainy day. Attempting a wheelie, the novice cyclist falls onto the sidewalk, grimacing, and, having internalized this setback as failure, vows to never ride again but to “walk…forever.” Then the unnamed protagonist happens upon a glowing orb in the forest, a “thought rearranger-er”—a luminous pink fairy called the Magical Yet. This Yet reminds the child of past accomplishments and encourages perseverance. The second-person rhyming couplets remind readers that mistakes are part of learning and that with patience and effort, children can achieve. Readers see the protagonist learn to ride the bike before a flash-forward shows the child as a capable college graduate confidently designing a sleek new bike. This book shines with diversity: racial, ethnic, ability, and gender. The gender-indeterminate protagonist has light brown skin and exuberant curly locks; Amid the bustling secondary cast, one child uses a prosthesis, and another wears hijab. At no point in the text is the Yet defined as a metaphor for a growth mindset; adults reading with younger children will likely need to clarify this abstract lesson. The artwork is powerful and detailed—pay special attention to the endpapers that progress to show the Yet at work.

A solid if message-driven conversation starter about the hard parts of learning. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-02562-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion/LBYR

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way.

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THE PIGEON HAS TO GO TO SCHOOL!

From the Pigeon series

All the typical worries and excuses kids have about school are filtered through Willems’ hysterical, bus-loving Pigeon.

Told mostly in speech balloons, the bird’s monologue will have kids (and their caregivers) in stitches at Pigeon’s excuses. From already knowing everything (except whatever question readers choose to provide in response to “Go ahead—ask me a question. / Any question!”) to fearing learning too much (“My head might pop off”), Pigeon’s imagination has run wild. Readers familiar with Pigeon will recognize the muted, matte backgrounds that show off the bird’s shenanigans so well. As in previous outings, Willems varies the size of the pigeon on the page to help communicate emotion, the bird teeny small on the double-page spread that illustrates the confession that “I’m… / scared.” And Pigeon’s eight-box rant about all the perils of school (“The unknown stresses me out, dude”) is marvelously followed by the realization (complete with lightbulb thought bubble) that school is the place for students to practice, with experts, all those skills they don’t yet have. But it is the ending that is so Willems, so Pigeon, and so perfect. Pigeon’s last question is “Well, HOW am I supposed to get there, anyway!?!” Readers will readily guess both the answer and Pigeon’s reaction.

Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-04645-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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