Consider this beautifully designed French import a must-have for any storytime or one-on-one sharing regarding the somewhat...

READ REVIEW

IN MY HEART

A BOOK OF FEELINGS

From the Growing Hearts series

Vibrant die cuts, whimsical drawings, and a text that explores a wide range of feelings with just the right touches of imagination and wit combine for a most impressive picture-book experience.

Readers will be attracted right away to the rainbow hues of the multilayered die-cut hearts that recede inward from the cover. The device entices readers to turn the page and enter into an exploration of emotion. An expressive girl explains: “My heart is like a house, with all these feelings living inside.” On the facing page, the shape of a house surrounds the interior die-cut hearts. With each page turn, emotions from happiness to sadness, bravery to fear, anger to calm are displayed. Witek expertly utilizes similes to help young readers grasp the concepts; a bright yellow star represents happiness, but a red cross with a bandage on it is emblematic of a broken heart when feelings have been hurt. When the girl’s heart is “silly,” she is “like a bouncy bunny.” At other times her heart is “as heavy as an elephant” or hopeful, “like a plant reaching toward the sky.” As the pages turn, the hearts get smaller and smaller, until the final spread shows a garden with dozens of hearts. Readers are left to answer a question: “How does your heart feel?”

Consider this beautifully designed French import a must-have for any storytime or one-on-one sharing regarding the somewhat sticky subject of feelings. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4197-1310-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: abramsappleseed

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2014

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A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

I AM ENOUGH

A feel-good book about self-acceptance.

Empire star Byers and Bobo offer a beautifully illustrated, rhyming picture book detailing what one brown-skinned little girl with an impressive Afro appreciates about herself. Relying on similes, the text establishes a pattern with the opening sentence, “Like the sun, I’m here to shine,” and follows it through most of the book. Some of them work well, while others fall flat: “Like the rain, I’m here to pour / and drip and fall until I’m full.” In some vignettes she’s by herself; and in others, pictured along with children of other races. While the book’s pro-diversity message comes through, the didactic and even prideful expressions of self-acceptance make the book exasperatingly preachy—a common pitfall for books by celebrity authors. In contrast, Bobo’s illustrations are visually stunning. After painting the children and the objects with which they interact, such as flowers, books, and a red wagon, in acrylic on board for a traditional look, she scanned the images into Adobe Photoshop and added the backgrounds digitally in chalk. This lends a whimsical feel to such details as a rainbow, a window, wind, and rain—all reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Bobo creates an inclusive world of girls in which wearing glasses, using a wheelchair, wearing a head scarf, and having a big Afro are unconditionally accepted rather than markers for othering.

A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266712-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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A comical, fresh look at crayons and color

THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT

Duncan wants to draw, but instead of crayons, he finds a stack of letters listing the crayons’ demands in this humorous tale.

Red is overworked, laboring even on holidays. Gray is exhausted from coloring expansive spaces (elephants, rhinos and whales). Black wants to be considered a color-in color, and Peach? He’s naked without his wrapper! This anthropomorphized lot amicably requests workplace changes in hand-lettered writing, explaining their work stoppage to a surprised Duncan. Some are tired, others underutilized, while a few want official titles. With a little creativity and a lot of color, Duncan saves the day. Jeffers delivers energetic and playful illustrations, done in pencil, paint and crayon. The drawings are loose and lively, and with few lines, he makes his characters effectively emote. Clever spreads, such as Duncan’s “white cat in the snow” perfectly capture the crayons’ conundrum, and photographic representations of both the letters and coloring pages offer another layer of texture, lending to the tale’s overall believability.

A comical, fresh look at crayons and color . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25537-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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