IN MY ROOM

A BOOK OF CREATIVITY AND IMAGINATION

From the Growing Hearts series

A clever acknowledgement of the importance of imaginative play.

A child’s imagination is a wonderful thing, and in recognition of this fact, there is no lack of picture books that delve into a youngster’s world of fantasy.

What makes this one different is the format. Designed to be rotated 90 degrees to read, with thick pages that turn toward readers, each spread depicts a new imaginary scene via a series of graduated and mitered panels like colored tab folders. In first-person voice an ebullient girl asserts, “In my room, I can go anywhere I want to, and be anything I want to be. All I need is paper, crayons, chalk…and my imagination!” Her scrawling drawings evoke her pretend worlds in subsequent spreads as explorer, princess, writer, sailor, swimmer, bride, veterinarian, and rock star. The girl’s black-and-white line figure sports a red hair bow, paper-white skin, and rosy cheeks, with appropriate accessories for each pretend role. As explorer, two horizontal lines of red on each cheek evoke “war paint,” although the colander on her head confuses easy associations. Lots of white space effectively focuses attention on the girl, and swirls of crayon colors lend an aura of childlike spontaneity. The latest in Witek and Roussey’s Growing Hearts series (All My Treasures, 2016, etc.), this is a room full of appeal.

A clever acknowledgement of the importance of imaginative play. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2644-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

PERFECTLY NORMAN

From the Big Bright Feelings series

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance.

A boy with wings learns to be himself and inspires others like him to soar, too.

Norman, a “perfectly normal” boy, never dreamed he might grow wings. Afraid of what his parents might say, he hides his new wings under a big, stuffy coat. Although the coat hides his wings from the world, Norman no longer finds joy in bathtime, playing at the park, swimming, or birthday parties. With the gentle encouragement of his parents, who see his sadness, Norman finds the courage to come out of hiding and soar. Percival (The Magic Looking Glass, 2017, etc.) depicts Norman with light skin and dark hair. Black-and-white illustrations show his father with dark skin and hair and his mother as white. The contrast of black-and-white illustrations with splashes of bright color complements the story’s theme. While Norman tries to be “normal,” the world and people around him look black and gray, but his coat stands out in yellow. Birds pop from the page in pink, green, and blue, emphasizing the joy and beauty of flying free. The final spread, full of bright color and multiracial children in flight, sets the mood for Norman’s realization on the last page that there is “no such thing as perfectly normal,” but he can be “perfectly Norman.”

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-785-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

OLIVER AND HIS EGG

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for...

Oliver, of first-day-of-school alligator fame, is back, imagining adventures and still struggling to find balance between introversion and extroversion.

“When Oliver found his egg…” on the playground, mint-green backgrounds signifying Oliver’s flight into fancy slowly grow larger until they take up entire spreads; Oliver’s creature, white and dinosaurlike with orange polka dots, grows larger with them. Their adventures include sharing treats, sailing the seas and going into outer space. A classmate’s yell brings him back to reality, where readers see him sitting on top of a rock. Even considering Schmid’s scribbly style, readers can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he ponders the girl and whether or not to give up his solitary play. “But when Oliver found his rock… // Oliver imagined many adventures // with all his friends!” This last is on a double gatefold that opens to show the children enjoying the creature’s slippery curves. A final wordless spread depicts all the children sitting on rocks, expressions gleeful, wondering, waiting, hopeful. The illustrations, done in pastel pencil and digital color, again make masterful use of white space and page turns, although this tale is not nearly as funny or tongue-in-cheek as Oliver and His Alligator (2013), nor is its message as clear and immediately accessible to children.

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for all children but sadly isn’t. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7573-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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