An empowering package that needs adult intercession.

DREAM BIG

Youngsters meet accomplished women, both historic and contemporary.

Zaha Hadid admires one of her buildings; Amelia Earhart flies an airplane; and Harriet Tubman braves the woods at night. In alternating double- and single-page spreads, prominent women are depicted with oversized, oval heads and toddler-esque bodies along with the activities they are known for. This design choice may both attract and confuse little ones, as the audience is likely to assume these figures are children. The text follows a gentle pattern with the two-word phrases appearing on the single-page spreads and a three-word phrase on the double-page spreads. For the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova, poet/author Maya Angelou, and scientist Jane Goodall, the verse reads: “Dream FAR, / Dream WIDE, // Dream WILD dreams.” However, the name of each featured woman is hard to find, as it hidden in a very small, script type embedded in each illustration. Thankfully, a list of all the women presented appears in the back along with a short description of their accomplishment. The diversity of the women presented is refreshing, as 10 of the 15 figures are people of color. While many of the activities these women engage in will be accessible to toddlers, such as Frida Kahlo’s painting and Florence Griffith Joyner’s running, others may take more explanation from a grown-up, such as the math and science of Katherine Johnson and Chien-Shiung Wu. The final double-page spread encourages children to follow their own dreams in a setting that shows women engaged in a variety of activities.

An empowering package that needs adult intercession. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-33868-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Treacle drips from every page. Find self-esteem elsewhere.

ISLE OF YOU

The voice of an omniscient narrator, who may or may not be a caregiver, speaks directly to an unhappy child with an invitation to a very special place.

The child follows directions to the beautiful title isle “just across the bay.” Ferried across by a toy elephant in a sailboat, the child is given an enthusiastic welcome by more adorable animals and some other children. The little one swims in a waterfall, rides a giant eagle, relaxes in a hammock, and happily engages with some of the other children. Several of the activities are stereotypically girl-associated, and the other children appear to be girls with varying skin tones and hair textures; the little protagonist has light skin and a brown pageboy and is only suggested as female. After elaborate entertainments and a sweet feast, the child is assured that “someone loves you very, very, very much” before being borne safely home. Deep purple, bright pastel pink, and yellow watercolors dominate the color palette, creating a magical, otherworldly atmosphere. But it is also somewhat creepy as well. The Isle of You exists only for the protagonist’s happiness, even the other children there, who appear to have no existence in the real world. Apparently intended to build self-esteem and comfort, it seems to encourage self-centeredness instead, as does the ending play on the pronunciation of the title words.

Treacle drips from every page. Find self-esteem elsewhere. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9116-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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A clear message with a developmentally appropriate approach.

THE THANK YOU BOOK

“All over the world, if you look, you will find / there are all kinds of thank-yous for all kinds of kind.”

This chipper board book offers ways to express gratitude, from saying thank you to giving a hug to drawing a picture. The rhyming text keeps the pages turning, and the concise explanations make the book appropriate for little ones. The illustrations depict children and adults with a wide range of skin tones, hair colors and textures, and abilities. Characters thank a crossing guard for helping them make their way across the street, a child thanks a veterinarian for treating their cat, and another little one thanks a grown-up for braiding their hair. All of the people are drawn with simple faces, two dark circles for the eyes, a single-line nose, and sometimes rosy cheeks. While the art doesn’t make room for a detailed range of expressions, it does the job. The message that a thank you comes from inside and can be shared in many forms is straightforward yet incredibly important. This one will work well in the hands of a young child but also as a tool for educators and caregivers. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A clear message with a developmentally appropriate approach. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66590-292-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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