Older preschoolers maturing from concrete thinking to more abstract thought will find this a hoot.

BEFORE & AFTER

Whimsical illustrations challenge young readers to go beyond the obvious.

Bold artwork heavily outlined in black depicts a variety of “before” situations followed by their “after” counterparts on the following pages. Wit and humor pervade the different situations presented. A tatty-looking cat transforms into a sparkling clean cat. A brown-skinned child goes from long, black “before” hair to buzz-cut “after” hair to long, black hair again “way after.” The age-old question of what came first, the chicken or the egg, also makes an appearance here. A double-gatefold spread of a hair-raising roller-coaster ride will have readers laughing. And the consequences of a white-skinned girl staying out in the sun too long? An interesting tan, to say the least. One mildly provocative situation presents two people—one white, one black—who appear both to be pregnant. On the following page the white woman has lost her belly, and the black one is holding a brown infant. On closer inspection though, is the black pregnant-looking person perhaps a man—there are no breasts—and the father of the newborn? This and all the other situations should spark interesting conversations between children and their adult readers.

Older preschoolers maturing from concrete thinking to more abstract thought will find this a hoot. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 13, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7148-7408-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Phaidon

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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For patient listeners, a fun visit to a mixed-up barnyard.

THE WIND PLAYS TRICKS

When a fierce wind descends on the barnyard, the animals hear some odd noises…and they’re coming from their own mouths.

The sudden wind unsettles all the animals on the farm just when they should be getting ready for sleep. Instead, they anxiously “cheep” and “cluck” and “oink” and “quack” and “moooo.” They shift nervously, pull together, and make all sorts of noises. All except Turtle, who tucks into his shell under an old log and sleeps. In the morning, though, the animals get a surprise. Pig says, “Cluck”; the Little Chicks say, “Neigh”; Horse crows, “Cock-a-doodle-doo.” How will they get their proper sounds back? Turtle has an idea, and he enjoys the process so much that he decides to open his mouth the next time the wind plays tricks at the farm: Perhaps he’ll catch a sound all his own. Chua’s cartoon barnyard is bright, and her animals, expressive, their faces and body language slightly anthropomorphized. The edges of the figures sometimes betray their digital origins. Though the tale is humorous and will give lots of opportunity for practicing animal sounds, the audience is hard to pin down, as the young children sure to enjoy mooing and clucking may not have the patience to sit through the somewhat lengthy text.

For patient listeners, a fun visit to a mixed-up barnyard. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8075-8735-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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In this picture book, pink may be for boys, but colors are still not quite for everyone.

PINK IS FOR BOYS

Pink, blue, yellow, and orange—all colors that are for boys, girls, popsicles, and unicorns.

With simple text and vibrant illustrations of racially diverse children playing together, this book introduces 10 colors “for boys. And girls.” For each new color, Pearlman shares an example of where to find the color: on sports uniforms, crowns, race cars, and teddy bears. Each color is presented in simple, repetitive text on verso (alternating which gender as specified first) with a vignette on recto and then on the next, full-bleed double-page spread. Kaban’s illustrations of children dancing, running, and flying on winged unicorns add an element of liveliness to keep the repetition from turning stale. Colored type that corresponds with the name of each introduced color encourages young readers to participate in the story. Although the book shares the message that “all colors are for everyone,” the lead-up to this conclusion perpetuates the notion that gender is binary. The statement that “PINK [or blue, yellow, etc.] is for boys. And girls” leaves out anyone who might not fit those categories until the end. Even the examples for pink and blue reinforce stereotypical associations for the colors, since pink is for “bows on fancy clothes” and blue is for “uniforms on a team.” For a book that aims at inclusiveness, this one misses the bull’s-eye.

In this picture book, pink may be for boys, but colors are still not quite for everyone. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6247-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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