A simple, colorful book that will likely make excellent bedtime reading.

I LOVE YOU, LITTLE BIRD

A sweet, lushly illustrated book about a mother bird’s unconditional love for her baby.

Monroe’s debut picture book, in the vein of Sam McBratney’s Guess How Much I Love You (1994), tells the story of a baby bird who asks his mother a series of hypotheticals about how much she loves him. “[W]hat if I roll in the dirt and get mud all over my face and feathers?” he asks, among other similar questions. The mother, of course, reassures the chick repeatedly. When a crisis occurs later in the story and the flock nearly leaves the baby behind, his mother comes through and protects him, proving that she will always love him no matter what. (The conflict is quite minimal, and doesn’t last long enough to frighten smaller children.) Children will likely enjoy reading this book along with a caregiver, and the question-and-answer format makes for a good interactive bedtime story. The illustrations are lovely, with the birds portrayed realistically rather than cartoonishly; the backgrounds have a charming, sketchy quality that calls to mind magazine illustrations of the 1950s and ’60s, and they include small details that may delight younger children. Illustrator Whittaker-Paek conveys motion with vibrant lines uses colors that make the birds appear fluffy and warm. Some of the language is a bit formal for a children’s book; when the mother bird answers her baby’s questions, he is “pleased with his mother’s reply” and “liked his mother’s response,” rather than simply being happy with her answer. However, the prose will introduce small children to longer words and synonyms and won’t detract from a pleasurable reading experience.

A simple, colorful book that will likely make excellent bedtime reading.

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2013

ISBN: 978-0615672571

Page Count: 28

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2013

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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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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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