From the On Bird Hill and Beyond series

Another fine entry for a “sense of wonder” collection.

The splash and chatter of a raft of ducks temporarily disrupts the peace of a wildlife-filled pond.

Smoothly crafted couplets and the occasional triplet describe a moment in the natural world when a “quack of ducks” descends on a pond. The unnamed narrator, who is walking with a leashed dog, is depicted as an adult with light-brown skin. She describes the sights and sounds of mallards landing, the other animals scattering, and the water rippling. “Every part of me was changed, / I looked like I’d been re-arranged.” Just as quickly the ducks move on, and peace returns. A prolific and skillful writer, Yolen chooses her words carefully and interestingly, putting them together in ways that read aloud gracefully. This companion volume to On Bird Hill (2016) again speaks to the joy of paying attention to one’s surroundings. The text describes some of the pond’s inhabitants: trout, turtles, tadpoles, a bullfrog, and a blue heron. The illustrations show many more. Fourteen are identified in a key in the backmatter, and there are a few fast facts. Young readers and listeners will be encouraged to discover them in their habitat on these pages. Marstall’s delicately colored paintings are less whimsical and more realistic than in the previous book. They show the pond from many angles, including close-up images of lily pads and broad vistas.

Another fine entry for a “sense of wonder” collection. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943645-22-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cornell Lab Publishing Group

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017


From the Big Bright Feelings series

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance.

A boy with wings learns to be himself and inspires others like him to soar, too.

Norman, a “perfectly normal” boy, never dreamed he might grow wings. Afraid of what his parents might say, he hides his new wings under a big, stuffy coat. Although the coat hides his wings from the world, Norman no longer finds joy in bathtime, playing at the park, swimming, or birthday parties. With the gentle encouragement of his parents, who see his sadness, Norman finds the courage to come out of hiding and soar. Percival (The Magic Looking Glass, 2017, etc.) depicts Norman with light skin and dark hair. Black-and-white illustrations show his father with dark skin and hair and his mother as white. The contrast of black-and-white illustrations with splashes of bright color complements the story’s theme. While Norman tries to be “normal,” the world and people around him look black and gray, but his coat stands out in yellow. Birds pop from the page in pink, green, and blue, emphasizing the joy and beauty of flying free. The final spread, full of bright color and multiracial children in flight, sets the mood for Norman’s realization on the last page that there is “no such thing as perfectly normal,” but he can be “perfectly Norman.”

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-785-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018


Although a bit on the slight side, this offering is infused with a warm, light humor just right for cuddling up with a young...

This title previously published in the U.K. takes a cozy look at all kinds of kisses.

Walsh’s rhyming text is full of cutesy rhythms: “Kisses on noses, kisses on toes-es. Sudden kisses when you least supposes.” Sometimes the phrasing stumbles: “Who likes to kiss? I do! I do! Even the shy do. Why not try, too?” But toddlers and young preschoolers will probably not mind. They will be too engaged in spotting the lively penguin on each spread and too charmed by Abbot’s winsome illustrations that fittingly extend the wording in the story. Patient dogs queue up for a smooch from a frog prince, cool blue “ ’normous elephants” contrast strikingly with bright red “little tiny ants” and a bewildered monkey endures a smattering of lipstick kisses. Be the kiss small or tall, one to start or end the day, young readers are reminded that “the very best kiss… / is a kiss from you!” Perhaps no big surprise but comforting nonetheless.

Although a bit on the slight side, this offering is infused with a warm, light humor just right for cuddling up with a young tyke or sharing with a gathering for storytime.     (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Dec. 20, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2769-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2011