A powerful tale that should help children of all ages embrace the fact that dead does not have to mean gone.

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THE GIRL WHO SAVED YESTERDAY

In this age of automaticity, electronic immediacy, and carpe diem, this book delivers a rare exultation: remember the Ancestors.

Silence, a child whom the villagers have cast out into the forest because she tried to climb the mountain to find her dead parents, now lives happily among nurturing trees. When the most ancient of the trees, Wonderboom, tells Silence she must return to the village to “save Yesterday,” at first she fails to understand how but reluctantly returns to the hostile village. Morning Star and Sun tell Silence what she must do, and with a scythe, she cuts a path up the mountainside, where the trees help her find glowing stones that she thinks must be her parents. Silence then shows the villagers how to honor their dead, for the Ancestors resent being forgotten. Lester sets this literary folk tale somewhere in Africa, where the villagers wear bright, patterned fabrics, the women wear beautiful head wraps, and all of the characters have dark brown skin. While Lester sprinkles interesting metaphors and similes on nearly every page, Angel paints the story to life with personified trees, an impressive array of topographies, and a girl who will stop at nothing to follow her instincts. When Silence speaks, change happens.

A powerful tale that should help children of all ages embrace the fact that dead does not have to mean gone. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-939547-24-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Creston

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Cool beans indeed.

THE COOL BEAN

A supposed “has-bean” shows that coolness has more to do with deeds than demeanor.

Offering further moral instruction in this leguminous cousin to The Bad Seed (2017) and The Good Egg (2019), Oswald portrays three beans—each a different species but all sporting boss shades, fly threads, and that requisite air of nonchalance—bringing the cool to streets, hallways, playgrounds, and Leguma Beach. Meanwhile, a fourth (a scraggly-haired chickpea), whose efforts to echo the look and the ’tude have fallen flat, takes on the role of nerdy narrator to recall “olden days” when they all hung out in the same pod. Still, despite rolling separate ways (nobody’s fault: “That’s just how it is sometimes. You spend less time together, even though you’re not totally sure why”), when the uncool bean drops a lunch tray, skins a kid knee on the playground, or just needs a hint in class, one of the others is always on the scene toot suite. No biggie. And passing those casual acts of kindness forward? “Now that’s cool.” John’s good-hearted text makes some hay with the bean puns while Oswald’s pipe-stemmed limbs, googly eyes, and accessories give these anthropomorphic legumes lots of personality. As a fava to young audiences, pair with Jamie Michalak and Frank Kolar’s Frank and Bean (2019) for a musical combination.

Cool beans indeed. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-295452-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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