This teddy gang run amok proves that the principal is human, but their adventures are becoming one-note.

I'M AFRAID YOUR TEDDY IS IN THE PRINCIPAL'S OFFICE

That social butterfly, er, teddy, is causing trouble again, this time at school.

The mischief-maker in question, a light-brown bear, has convinced his various buddies to sneak to school in their kids’ backpacks. Their reign of terror starts in the cafeteria, where they sculpt a sloppy-joe bear, play Frisbee with pizzas, and use spaghetti as wigs and fake mustaches. They tag the wall with condiments. They tie up the gym teacher with jump-ropes and sneak bubble fluid into the band instruments. Before making their pipe-cleaner escape from the art room, they invade the teachers’ lounge (readers will be in stitches at the wonders hiding in that sanctum sanctorum). But in the end, the suspects are lined up in chairs in the office of the principal, a brown-skinned woman who looks like she means business…until she remembers her own beloved childhood bear. Children will surely chuckle at the stuffed friends’ antics, which are just riotous enough that readers will recognize they are not to be emulated (one hopes). The trip to the principal’s office (including the struggles of the vice principal, a white man, to control his laughter) may be accurate for first-timers, but those who make frequent visits are not likely to see the same treatment.

This teddy gang run amok proves that the principal is human, but their adventures are becoming one-note. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0198-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Inspiration, shrink wrapped.

WHAT THE ROAD SAID

From an artist, poet, and Instagram celebrity, a pep talk for all who question where a new road might lead.

Opening by asking readers, “Have you ever wanted to go in a different direction,” the unnamed narrator describes having such a feeling and then witnessing the appearance of a new road “almost as if it were magic.” “Where do you lead?” the narrator asks. The Road’s twice-iterated response—“Be a leader and find out”—bookends a dialogue in which a traveler’s anxieties are answered by platitudes. “What if I fall?” worries the narrator in a stylized, faux hand-lettered type Wade’s Instagram followers will recognize. The Road’s dialogue and the narration are set in a chunky, sans-serif type with no quotation marks, so the one flows into the other confusingly. “Everyone falls at some point, said the Road. / But I will always be there when you land.” Narrator: “What if the world around us is filled with hate?” Road: “Lead it to love.” Narrator: “What if I feel stuck?” Road: “Keep going.” De Moyencourt illustrates this colloquy with luminous scenes of a small, brown-skinned child, face turned away from viewers so all they see is a mop of blond curls. The child steps into an urban mural, walks along a winding country road through broad rural landscapes and scary woods, climbs a rugged metaphorical mountain, then comes to stand at last, Little Prince–like, on a tiny blue and green planet. Wade’s closing claim that her message isn’t meant just for children is likely superfluous…in fact, forget the just.

Inspiration, shrink wrapped. (Picture book. 6-8, adult)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26949-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

As insubstantial as hot air.

THE WORLD NEEDS WHO YOU WERE MADE TO BE

A diverse cast of children first makes a fleet of hot air balloons and then takes to the sky in them.

Lifestyle maven Gaines uses this activity as a platform to celebrate diversity in learning and working styles. Some people like to work together; others prefer a solo process. Some take pains to plan extensively; others know exactly what they want and jump right in. Some apply science; others demonstrate artistic prowess. But “see how beautiful it can be when / our differences share the same sky?” Double-page spreads leading up to this moment of liftoff are laid out such that rhyming abcb quatrains typically contain one or two opposing concepts: “Some of us are teachers / and share what we know. / But all of us are learners. / Together is how we grow!” In the accompanying illustration, a bespectacled, Asian-presenting child at a blackboard lectures the other children on “balloon safety.” Gaines’ text has the ring of sincerity, but the sentiment is hardly an original one, and her verse frequently sacrifices scansion for rhyme. Sometimes it abandons both: “We may not look / or work or think the same, / but we all have an / important part to play.” Swaney’s delicate, pastel-hued illustrations do little to expand on the text, but they are pretty. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11.2-by-18.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 70.7% of actual size.)

As insubstantial as hot air. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4003-1423-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tommy Nelson

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more