A nod to “Little Red Riding Hood,” yes, but also a not-so-scary, sweet treat on its own.

READ REVIEW

RED

A small child in a red cape carries a basket through a forest filled with creatures—including an enormous wolf!

This wordless story begins before the title page as the gigantic wolf emerges from the forest to deliver bags holding wrapping paper, ribbons, and party hats to an older woman waiting at the door of a cabin. Alexander’s detailed black-and-white illustrations convey the textures of bark, fur, mushrooms, clothing, and the wolf’s huge bushy tail, which extends past several trees at once. Shades of red and pink, the only colors against black, white, and gray, draw the eye. The girl, in red hoodie and black boots, looks intrepid as she enters the forest. (The girl and her grandmother are shown with dark hair and light, but not white, skin.) The wolf strategically blocks Red’s view as a skunk tiptoes through the trees with a red-ribboned package and a pair of red foxes pass by with bouquets of red balloons. As the little girl catches sight of a bird with a pink streamer, two rabbits sneak by with a cake, frosted in pink. The surprise that awaits the child at her grandmother’s house is full of warmth and good cheer, and somehow all the creatures fit into the small space.

A nod to “Little Red Riding Hood,” yes, but also a not-so-scary, sweet treat on its own. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-944903-11-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cameron + Company

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here.

ONE LOVE

A sugary poem, very loosely based on the familiar song, lacks focus.

Using only the refrain from the original (“One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel all right!”), the reggae great’s daughter Cedella Marley sees this song as her “happy song” and adapts it for children. However, the adaptation robs it of life. After the opening lines, readers familiar with the original song (or the tourism advertisement for Jamaica) will be humming along only to be stopped by the bland lines that follow: “One love, what the flower gives the bee.” and then “One love, what Mother Earth gives the tree.” Brantley-Newton’s sunny illustrations perfectly reflect the saccharine quality of the text. Starting at the beginning of the day, readers see a little girl first in bed, under a photograph of Bob Marley, the sun streaming into her room, a bird at the window. Each spread is completely redundant—when the text is about family love, the illustration actually shows little hearts floating from her parents to the little girl. An image of a diverse group getting ready to plant a community garden, walking on top of a river accompanies the words “One love, like the river runs to the sea.”

Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here. (afterword) (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0224-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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