EVERYTHING POSSIBLE

A touching celebration of love and individuality.

Children are taught to follow their hearts in this picture-book adaptation of a song by folk singer Small.

An author’s note explains that the song was written by Small 40 years ago to help his friend Janet Peterson, a lesbian in a relationship with another woman, explain to her son that despite the pressure many boys face to be tough, it was OK for him to be sensitive and caring. Sure to tug at heartstrings, the verse makes clear that no matter what listeners do or whom they love, they will always be loved and accepted. The illustrations depict three children—one with tan skin and black hair, one with brown hair and brown skin, and one with tan skin and blond hair—who play together and interact with a diverse community that includes queer families. Though the lyrics sound good read aloud, they’re even better sung, and a QR code allows readers to hear the song performed by Small. While the book’s message is strong and clear, it never feels preachy. With its cozy, loving, earnest tone, it has the potential to become a go-to bedtime read. The illustrations are warm and endearing. Simple dots and lines are used to depict characters’ faces yet are expressive and sympathetic. The evocative lighting makes each image poignant. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A touching celebration of love and individuality. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: May 2, 2023

ISBN: 9798887770222

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nosy Crow

Review Posted Online: Feb. 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Safe to creep on by.

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2021

STOP! BOT!

The visual details invite interaction, making it a good choice for storytime or solo inspection.

It’s a quiet day, until….

“I have a bot!” An excited child’s happiness is short-lived, for the remote-controlled toy escapes its wireless tether and begins an ascent up the side of a skyscraper. The building’s doorman launches a race to recover the bot, and soon everyone wants to help. Attempts to retrieve the bot, which is rendered as a red rectangle with a propeller, arms, and a rudimentary face, go from the mundanity of a broom to the absurd—a bright orange beehive hairdo and a person-sized Venus’ flytrap are just some of the silly implements the building’s occupants use to try to rein in the bot. Each double-page spread reveals another level of the building—and further visual hijinks—as the bot makes its way to the top, where an unexpected hero waits (keep an eye out for falling bananas). The tall, narrow trim size echoes the shape of the skyscraper, providing a sense of height as the bot rises. Text is minimal; short declarations in tidy black dialogue bubbles with white courier-style typeface leave the primary-colored, blocky art to effectively carry the story. Facial expressions—both human and bot—are comically spot-on. The bot-owning child has light skin, and there are several people of color among those trying to rescue the bot. One person wears a kufi.

The visual details invite interaction, making it a good choice for storytime or solo inspection. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: July 23, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-425-28881-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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