Preaches to the choir.

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OUR POLICE

A picture-book introduction to the police.

A preface by the author/illustrator’s son Mark R. Levin, a lawyer and Fox News personality, tells readers, “My father…understands that in all walks of life, and in every profession, man’s imperfections present themselves.” But, distressed by “news reports painting police officers…in an extremely negative light,” he was stirred to create this book so that young readers might “learn to respect law and order.” After that beginning, straightforward text combines with simple, childlike illustrations to introduce various types of police officers and what they do, including traffic police, dog handlers, and state troopers. Unsurprisingly, this is an unnuanced, positive portrayal. “When a fierce hurricane hits, the police remain steadfast. Amid the rising floodwaters, they search for missing people and stranded pets.” The book does not fall into the common trap of adducing the criminality of those arrested but not yet tried—indeed, there’s just one depiction of an arrest, in the beam of light cast by a police helicopter as the text reads that its job is to “make sure all is safe in the surrounding neighborhood.” It is deeply unfortunate, however, in a book that is attempting to rehabilitate the police with young audiences, that the vast preponderance of officers depicted appear to be white (as are those they interact with). Nowhere in the book’s determined cheerleading is there room to respect the experiences of those who have lost family members and friends to the police and who themselves feel targeted.

Preaches to the choir. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 30, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2950-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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A validating and breathtaking next chapter of a Mother Goose favorite.

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AFTER THE FALL (HOW HUMPTY DUMPTY GOT BACK UP AGAIN)

Humpty Dumpty, classically portrayed as an egg, recounts what happened after he fell off the wall in Santat’s latest.

An avid ornithophile, Humpty had loved being atop a high wall to be close to the birds, but after his fall and reassembly by the king’s men, high places—even his lofted bed—become intolerable. As he puts it, “There were some parts that couldn’t be healed with bandages and glue.” Although fear bars Humpty from many of his passions, it is the birds he misses the most, and he painstakingly builds (after several papercut-punctuated attempts) a beautiful paper plane to fly among them. But when the plane lands on the very wall Humpty has so doggedly been avoiding, he faces the choice of continuing to follow his fear or to break free of it, which he does, going from cracked egg to powerful flight in a sequence of stunning spreads. Santat applies his considerable talent for intertwining visual and textual, whimsy and gravity to his consideration of trauma and the oft-overlooked importance of self-determined recovery. While this newest addition to Santat’s successes will inevitably (and deservedly) be lauded, younger readers may not notice the de-emphasis of an equally important part of recovery: that it is not compulsory—it is OK not to be OK.

A validating and breathtaking next chapter of a Mother Goose favorite. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62672-682-6

Page Count: 45

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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