A serene invitation to see and to think about both shape and concept.

ROUND

A celebration of all things round—mostly in nature but also beneath a cozy blanket, in a circle of friends, encircled by loving arms.

“I love round things,” and “I love to see round things grow.” With expressions of surprise or quiet pleasure in Yoo’s soft, idyllic outdoor scenes, a child with East Asian features plants peas, peeks at the round eggs of a turtle and a ladybug, blows bubbles, points to tree rings and to a huge full moon. Accompanied by her youthful-looking dad (or big brother?), she carries a basket of blueberries, explores a beach, canoes past water-rounded rocks, and chucks pebbles into a pond. With five friends—each showing a different set of ethnic markers—she lies beneath autumn leaves hand in hand, heads in the center of the circle; alone, she curls up under a comforter with a pet and a picture book. The visual tally and terse commentary close with a hug and the circle-closing words “I love round things.” Roundness abounds in Yoo’s mixed-media prints: there are oranges, spirals on a turtle’s shell, the black centers of sunflowers, the concentric rings of a stump. In two pages of backmatter, Sidman goes on to describe how roundness benefits seeds, eggs, and other living things.

A serene invitation to see and to think about both shape and concept. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-544-38761-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here.

ONE LOVE

A sugary poem, very loosely based on the familiar song, lacks focus.

Using only the refrain from the original (“One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel all right!”), the reggae great’s daughter Cedella Marley sees this song as her “happy song” and adapts it for children. However, the adaptation robs it of life. After the opening lines, readers familiar with the original song (or the tourism advertisement for Jamaica) will be humming along only to be stopped by the bland lines that follow: “One love, what the flower gives the bee.” and then “One love, what Mother Earth gives the tree.” Brantley-Newton’s sunny illustrations perfectly reflect the saccharine quality of the text. Starting at the beginning of the day, readers see a little girl first in bed, under a photograph of Bob Marley, the sun streaming into her room, a bird at the window. Each spread is completely redundant—when the text is about family love, the illustration actually shows little hearts floating from her parents to the little girl. An image of a diverse group getting ready to plant a community garden, walking on top of a river accompanies the words “One love, like the river runs to the sea.”

Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here. (afterword) (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0224-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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THE GRUFFALO

The action of this rhymed and humorous tale centers upon a mouse who "took a stroll/through the deep dark wood./A fox saw the mouse/and the mouse looked good." The mouse escapes being eaten by telling the fox that he is on his way to meet his friend the gruffalo (a monster of his imagination), whose favorite food is roasted fox. The fox beats a hasty retreat. Similar escapes are in store for an owl and a snake; both hightail it when they learn the particulars: tusks, claws, terrible jaws, eyes orange, tongue black, purple prickles on its back. When the gruffalo suddenly materializes out of the mouse's head and into the forest, the mouse has to think quick, declaring himself inedible as the "scariest creature in the deep dark wood," and inviting the gruffalo to follow him to witness the effect he has on the other creatures. When the gruffalo hears that the mouse's favorite food is gruffalo crumble, he runs away. It's a fairly innocuous tale, with twists that aren't sharp enough and treachery that has no punch. Scheffler's funny scenes prevent the suspense from culminating; all his creatures, predator and prey, are downright lovable. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8037-2386-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1999

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