A silly, easy-to-read rhyming adventure for young readers.

TWO BEES ON THE HIGH SEAS

In this picture-book series starter by author Martin and illustrator Walstead (Perk and Bing and Squirrel’s Sting, 2018), two bees are stranded in an acorn boat during a storm because their wings are too wet to fly.

One summer day, a rainstorm floods the valley where sibling bees Perk and Bing live. They’re stuck on the ground with only an acorn shell to protect them from the water. In the illustrations, the two start the story in their tree and intentionally go to play in the rain—a bit of mischief that isn’t noted in the text. They turn the shell into a boat and find themselves adrift. When they float by their tree, they call for help, but their mother doesn’t hear. Finally, they make it ashore to wait out the storm. Walstead’s cartoon images add unmentioned characters, such as a frog and a fish who assist the unlucky bees; Bing is shown wearing a backwards, blue baseball cap, and Perk, a pink bow. Some verb placements in Martin’s poetry (“The rain, it came”; “Sad and scared was Mother Bee”) may strike newly independent readers as odd. However, the lines still scan well, only changing their rhyme scheme for two pages, and the consistent rhythm makes them easy to read aloud. An illustrated glossary appears at the end.

A silly, easy-to-read rhyming adventure for young readers.

Pub Date: Jan. 21, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-984065-50-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

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GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS

With the same delightfully irreverent spirit that he brought to his retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" (1987), Marshall enlivens another favorite. Although completely retold with his usual pungent wit and contemporary touches ("I don't mind if I do," says Goldilocks, as she tries out porridge, chair, and bed), Marshall retains the stories well-loved pattern, including Goldilocks escaping through the window (whereupon Baby Bear inquires, "Who was that little girl?"). The illustrations are fraught with delicious humor and detail: books that are stacked everywhere around the rather cluttered house, including some used in lieu of a missing leg for Papa Bear's chair; comically exaggerated beds—much too high at the head and the foot; and Baby Bear's wonderfully messy room, which certainly brings the story into the 20th century. Like its predecessor, perfect for several uses, from picture-book hour to beginning reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1988

ISBN: 0140563660

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1988

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Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children.

THE NIGHT IS YOURS

On hot summer nights, Amani’s parents permit her to go outside and play in the apartment courtyard, where the breeze is cool and her friends are waiting.

The children jump rope to the sounds of music as it floats through a neighbor’s window, gaze at stars in the night sky, and play hide-and-seek in the moonlight. It is in the moonlight that Amani and her friends are themselves found by the moon, and it illumines the many shades of their skin, which vary from light tan to deep brown. In a world where darkness often evokes ideas of evil or fear, this book is a celebration of things that are dark and beautiful—like a child’s dark skin and the night in which she plays. The lines “Show everyone else how to embrace the night like you. Teach them how to be a night-owning girl like you” are as much an appeal for her to love and appreciate her dark skin as they are the exhortation for Amani to enjoy the night. There is a sense of security that flows throughout this book. The courtyard is safe and homelike. The moon, like an additional parent, seems to be watching the children from the sky. The charming full-bleed illustrations, done in washes of mostly deep blues and greens, make this a wonderful bedtime story.

Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55271-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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