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

Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

BE YOU!

An inspirational picture book offers life advice for readers who want to be themselves.

Replete with sparkling, often quirky illustrations of children living their best lives, this book is a gorgeous guidebook for those seeking encouragement while encountering life’s challenges. The children featured—a racially diverse group ranging from infants to preschoolers—cheerfully navigate the various injunctions that flow through the text: “Be curious.…Be adventurous.…Be persistent.…Be kind.” What is remarkable about the book is that even though the instructions and the brief sentences explaining them are at times vague, the illustrations expand on them in ways readers will find endearing and uplifting. Those depicting painful or challenging moments are especially effective. The “Be persistent” double-page spread shows a child in a boat on stormy seas; it’s rich with deep blues as it emphasizes the energy of wind and rain and struggle in the face of challenge. Together with the accompanying repeated phrase “Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop,” this spread arrests readers. By contrast, the “Be kind. Be understanding” spread simply presents two children’s faces, one cast in blue and the other in gold, but the empathy that Reynolds conveys is similarly captivating. While there is no plot to pull readers through the pages, the book provides rich fodder for caregivers to use as teachable moments, both informally and in classroom settings.

Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-57231-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

Serving looks and a little bit of shade with every reread.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 10

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

SHADY BABY

Inspired by the authors’ own daughter, Shady Baby brings a vivacious style and presence to every part of her day and to all the people she cares about.

“Shady might be tiny / but she’s a mighty big deal!” Her day starts by coordinating fashion, then she drops beats at the pool and plays a quick pickup game with her stuffed animals, all followed by a trip to the park. When trouble brews among other kids at the park, who argue over swings and fall short on sharing, Shady steps up. “Shady stands real tall / flashing her famous side-eye. / Then she says to [the kids] / ‘You should give kindness a try.’ ” And they do, even helping Shady in kind when someone steals her toy. It’s all in a day’s work of being fabulous, and before bed, Shady relaxes and settles in for her favorite family snuggles. Laid out in rollicking rhyme, the text sets a pace as energetic as its protagonist, keeping the pages turning and the rhythm bouncing for storytime read-alouds and independent readers alike. Toddler enthusiasm and artful side-eye come to life in Whitaker’s bright, open spreads and saturated color palette, bringing vibrancy to Shady’s many boss moves. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Serving looks and a little bit of shade with every reread. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-305403-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

more