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THE WORLD SHINES FOR YOU

A visually rich and humbling feast of a book.

Grand in scale and ambition, this substantial board book is an exceptional example of the children’s book as art.

This extra-sturdy, eye-catching tour de force should fire young imaginations and leave children with a heightened sense of the splendor and immensity of the world around them. A simple poem places familiar items within their larger contexts in the natural world, threading seamlessly from one gorgeous scene to the next: “There is a tree // in the forest // there are leaves / on the wind // … // there are lights in the city // there are lights in the country // there are stars up above // and all the world shines for you.” Text and art are melded throughout, with words and images embossed in colorful foil here or overlaid with drifting leaves, clouds, sunshine, or starlight there. A stylized tree fills one page only to reappear as a small part of an intricate, two-page forest filled with trees, deer, bears, rabbits, and a rushing stream—a fully realized spectacle and ecosystem. Leaves, clouds, sunbeams, flowers, and stars overlay text that flows naturally from setting to setting. A multiracial cast of children, some in nontraditional gender roles, populate several panels. Artwork is clean, spectacular, and richly detailed throughout.

A visually rich and humbling feast of a book. (Board book. 1-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9632-2

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2018

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LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S CHRISTMAS

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own...

The sturdy Little Blue Truck is back for his third adventure, this time delivering Christmas trees to his band of animal pals.

The truck is decked out for the season with a Christmas wreath that suggests a nose between headlights acting as eyeballs. Little Blue loads up with trees at Toad’s Trees, where five trees are marked with numbered tags. These five trees are counted and arithmetically manipulated in various ways throughout the rhyming story as they are dropped off one by one to Little Blue’s friends. The final tree is reserved for the truck’s own use at his garage home, where he is welcomed back by the tree salestoad in a neatly circular fashion. The last tree is already decorated, and Little Blue gets a surprise along with readers, as tiny lights embedded in the illustrations sparkle for a few seconds when the last page is turned. Though it’s a gimmick, it’s a pleasant surprise, and it fits with the retro atmosphere of the snowy country scenes. The short, rhyming text is accented with colored highlights, red for the animal sounds and bright green for the numerical words in the Christmas-tree countdown.

Little Blue’s fans will enjoy the animal sounds and counting opportunities, but it’s the sparkling lights on the truck’s own tree that will put a twinkle in a toddler’s eyes. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-544-32041-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2014

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FAMILIES BELONG

A joyful celebration.

Families in a variety of configurations play, dance, and celebrate together.

The rhymed verse, based on a song from the Noodle Loaf children’s podcast, declares that “Families belong / Together like a puzzle / Different-sized people / One big snuggle.” The accompanying image shows an interracial couple of caregivers (one with brown skin and one pale) cuddling with a pajama-clad toddler with light brown skin and surrounded by two cats and a dog. Subsequent pages show a wide array of families with members of many different racial presentations engaging in bike and bus rides, indoor dance parties, and more. In some, readers see only one caregiver: a father or a grandparent, perhaps. One same-sex couple with two children in tow are expecting another child. Smart’s illustrations are playful and expressive, curating the most joyful moments of family life. The verse, punctuated by the word together, frequently set in oversized font, is gently inclusive at its best but may trip up readers with its irregular rhythms. The song that inspired the book can be found on the Noodle Loaf website.

A joyful celebration. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-22276-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Rise x Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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