WE ALL SING WITH THE SAME VOICE

A song, made popular on Sesame Street, now in book form with an enclosed CD. Righteous in its message, affirming that everyone’s the same inside despite looking different on the outside, this print version will help to substantiate the popular song. Although people may originate from various locations around the world, a point made clear in the childlike pictures, there are similarities as well as differences that should be celebrated. “My name is Jack and Fred. My name’s Amanda Sue. I’m called Kareem Abdu. My name is you.” This is an expression of inclusion, where children of all races and places, abilities and facilities, and families of all kinds belong together in the circle of life. Common activities are shared, such as loving a pet or person, playing, reading, watching TV, sleeping with your teddy at night, singing by the firelight, or the full spectrum of emotions felt by every person around the globe. Readers will be enlightened and should rejoice in the important message that may be perplexing to many but seems clear to most children—everyone loves to be loved. “And when it’s time for bed, I like my stories read, ‘Sweet dreams’ and ‘love you’ said. My name is you.” (Picture book 3-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2001

ISBN: 0-06-027475-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2001

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THE GRUFFALO

The action of this rhymed and humorous tale centers upon a mouse who "took a stroll/through the deep dark wood./A fox saw the mouse/and the mouse looked good." The mouse escapes being eaten by telling the fox that he is on his way to meet his friend the gruffalo (a monster of his imagination), whose favorite food is roasted fox. The fox beats a hasty retreat. Similar escapes are in store for an owl and a snake; both hightail it when they learn the particulars: tusks, claws, terrible jaws, eyes orange, tongue black, purple prickles on its back. When the gruffalo suddenly materializes out of the mouse's head and into the forest, the mouse has to think quick, declaring himself inedible as the "scariest creature in the deep dark wood," and inviting the gruffalo to follow him to witness the effect he has on the other creatures. When the gruffalo hears that the mouse's favorite food is gruffalo crumble, he runs away. It's a fairly innocuous tale, with twists that aren't sharp enough and treachery that has no punch. Scheffler's funny scenes prevent the suspense from culminating; all his creatures, predator and prey, are downright lovable. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8037-2386-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1999

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Shining with palpable pride for family and home.

ACROSS THE BAY

Carlitos’ yearning for his father takes him on a clandestine solo trip to Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, to find him. 

In the town of Cataño, across the titular bay from the capital, Carlitos lives with his mother, his abuela, and their cat, Coco. Carlitos’ “family didn’t look like the others.” The neighborhood children play basketball, learn to ride a bike, or do housework with their fathers while Carlitos goes to the barbershop with only his mother. When Carlitos asks about Papi’s whereabouts, his mother reassures him that his father is across the bay—that “sometimes things don’t work out.” Even though he is happy with his family, a desire for more sets Carlitos on a ferry with Papi’s photo in hand. Vibrant illustrations with an inviting tropical palette draw readers in as Carlitos searches high and low for Papi. A refreshingly varied spectrum of brown shades of skin abounds in colorful city scenes. Wide-angle perspectives effectively emphasize emotional scale: the vastness of San Juan Bay, Carlitos’ sense of his own smallness as he searches for his father in the “maze” of the old capital, and his despair at his journey’s end. Aponte’s decision to leave Carlitos’ quest unresolved is an honest one, and readers will respond to this beautiful depiction of a young boy’s physical and emotional journey within a deeply cultural setting.

Shining with palpable pride for family and home. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-8662-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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