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

READ REVIEW

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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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

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1999

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Pair this with Leo Timmers’ Who Is Driving? (2007) for twice the guessing fun.

CLOTHESLINE CLUES TO JOBS PEOPLE DO

From the Clothesline Clues series

Heling and Hembrook’s clever conceit challenges children to analyze a small town’s clotheslines to guess the job each of their owners does. 

Close-up on the clothesline: “Uniform and cap, / an invite for you. / Big bag of letters. / What job does she do?” A turn of the page reveals a macro view of the home, van and the woman doing her job, “She is a mail carrier.” Indeed, she can be spotted throughout the book delivering invitations to all the rest of the characters, who gather at the end for a “Launch Party.” The verses’ rhymes are spot-on, though the rhythm falters a couple of times. The authors nicely mix up the gender stereotypes often associated with several of these occupations, making the carpenter, firefighter and astronaut women. But while Davies keeps uniforms and props pretty neutral (he even avoids U.S. mail symbols), he keeps to the stereotypes that allow young readers to easily identify occupations—the farmer chews on a stalk of wheat; the beret-wearing artist sports a curly mustache. A subdued palette and plain white backgrounds keep kids’ focus on the clothing clues. Still, there are plenty of details to absorb—the cat with arched back that anticipates a spray of water, the firefighter who “lights” the rocket.

Pair this with Leo Timmers’ Who Is Driving? (2007) for twice the guessing fun. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-58089-251-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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