ANNA AT THE ART MUSEUM

Anna, a spirited girl of about 3, exhibits many of the symptoms of boredom—until a museum guard gives her and her mother a special opportunity.

From the moment Anna sits frowning on a tired-looking, aquamarine sofa, waiting for her mother to pay admission, text and art combine to create a funny frolic through the galleries. While Anna and the other museum visitors are cartoonlike in appearance, the artworks on each page are excellent reproductions of works found in art museums around the world (a key is in the backmatter). The sight gags are playful and plentiful, revolving around the resemblance of people and things in the gallery to the art on display—which is, of course, the point of the book. Children will enjoy detecting the artistic echoes of real life on every page. Some are subtle, but others will bring immediate laughter—as when Anna inadvertently sets off an alarm and the faces and hands of adults in the gallery resemble those in Edvard Munch’s The Scream. Text is in clear, sans-serif type, and it includes this wistful thought from a subdued Anna as she gazes out the window (at a Monet-esque harbor scene): “If only the museum could be turned inside out. Or the world outside in.” Her epiphany is on the way. Anna and her mom have brown skin and straight, black hair; other museumgoers are diverse.

Clever and endearing. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-77321-043-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: May 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

I AM ENOUGH

A feel-good book about self-acceptance.

Empire star Byers and Bobo offer a beautifully illustrated, rhyming picture book detailing what one brown-skinned little girl with an impressive Afro appreciates about herself. Relying on similes, the text establishes a pattern with the opening sentence, “Like the sun, I’m here to shine,” and follows it through most of the book. Some of them work well, while others fall flat: “Like the rain, I’m here to pour / and drip and fall until I’m full.” In some vignettes she’s by herself; and in others, pictured along with children of other races. While the book’s pro-diversity message comes through, the didactic and even prideful expressions of self-acceptance make the book exasperatingly preachy—a common pitfall for books by celebrity authors. In contrast, Bobo’s illustrations are visually stunning. After painting the children and the objects with which they interact, such as flowers, books, and a red wagon, in acrylic on board for a traditional look, she scanned the images into Adobe Photoshop and added the backgrounds digitally in chalk. This lends a whimsical feel to such details as a rainbow, a window, wind, and rain—all reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Bobo creates an inclusive world of girls in which wearing glasses, using a wheelchair, wearing a head scarf, and having a big Afro are unconditionally accepted rather than markers for othering.

A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266712-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more