ANGELS WATCHING OVER ME

An African-American spiritual provides the inspiration for this exuberant lyrical lullaby. Day begins and a small boy wakes with the sun, which tells him to play. Outside, the blue sky tells him to race. The wind tells him to soar up high, where a bird tells him to sing and a cloud tells him to drift. A tree tells him to take its fruit and a bug tells him to jump to the ground where the grass tells him to rest and the dusk tells him to sleep and the moon finally tells him to dream. From sunrise to sunset, the rhyming, repetitive refrain reminds young readers that angels are indeed watching over them. Glorious illustrations rendered in watercolor, ink, collage and colored pencil reveal nature holistically embracing the boy while a multicultural heavenly host of whimsical winged babies, boys, girls, birds, elephants, lions, cats, dogs and donkeys encircle and protect. Aerial views of the earth globally teeming with life and surrounded by blissful bands of cavorting angels provide cosmic comfort. Utterly angelic. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 27, 2007

ISBN: 0-689-86252-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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A sweet, poetic ode to autumn.

IF YOU FIND A LEAF

A rhyming celebration of imagination.

A child with brown skin offers gentle, artful ideas about what to do with autumn leaves. The picture book's idyllic setting seems Northeastern in nature, with deciduous trees shedding leaves, which the child scoops up. Could a leaf from a tree become a hat, a Halloween mask, a hammock, or something else entirely? "It could be a horn that blows, announcing that we're here. // A leafy parade to celebrate our favorite time of year." Rhyme rules the text but isn't forced in the least. Collaged leaves against painted illustrations encourage play and imagination. A nod to winter and spring make this a year-round read. Endpapers with realistic labeled images of leaves provide an injection of information in this otherwise dreamy musing. The backmatter includes instructions on collaging—a meaningful and fun activity that builds upon the text. While there's nothing groundbreaking here, there is opportunity for both learning and whimsy. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A sweet, poetic ode to autumn. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-30659-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House Studio

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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Animated and educational.

I'M A HARE, SO THERE!

A hare and a ground squirrel banter about the differences between related animals that are often confused for one another.

Jack is “no Flopsy, Mopsy, or Cottontail,” but a “H-A-R-E, hare!” Like sheep and goats, or turtles and tortoises, rabbits and hares may look similar, but hares are bigger, their fur changes color in the winter, and they are born with their eyes wide open. As the ground squirrel (not to be mistaken for a chipmunk (even though Jack cheekily calls it “Chippie”) and Jack engage in playful discussion about animals, a sneaky coyote prowls after them through the Sonoran Desert. This picture book conveys the full narrative in spirited, speech-bubbled dialogue set on expressive illustrations of talking animals. Dark outlines around the characters make their shapes pop against the softly blended colors of the desert backgrounds. Snappy back-and-forth paired with repetition and occasional rhyme enhances the story’s appeal as a read-aloud. As the story progresses, the colors of the sky shift from dawn to dusk, providing subtle, visual bookends for the narrative. One page of backmatter offers a quick guide to eight easily confused pairs, and a second turns a subsequent exploration of the book into a seek-and-find of 15 creatures (and one dessert) hidden in the desert. Unfortunately, while most of the creatures from the seek-and-find appear in poses that match the illustrations in the challenge, not all of them are consistently represented. (This book was reviewed digitally with 7-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 53.3% of actual size.)

Animated and educational. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-12506-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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