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

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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

Our Verdict

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  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

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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