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From the Sounds of Nature series

A solid seaside escapade that will sit nicely alongside other books on the five senses.

A family enjoys the glorious sounds of the ocean until the sun sets.

Two children listen to, imitate, and frolic along to the sounds of the sea, from roaring waves to barking seals. Sometimes they stand still to savor the whooshing of a seashell held to the ear; other times, they leap high while mimicking the “skree, skree” of a seabird. As the day goes on, the smaller child grows sleepy until finally both children fall asleep in the arms of their grown-ups. Washes of muted jewel tones and soft pencil lines invite readers to enjoy oceanside delights. With just a few sentences per page, the narrative skips along with a focus on auditory perception. Although the cozy ending denotes a bedtime story, the impulse to imitate flying birds and scuttling crabs may serve as an energetic rather than soporific catalyst. The generalized text and illustrations allow for many to draw connections to their own oceanside adventures, but other readers may wonder, for instance, which species of seabird says “skree, skree.” The two brown-haired children, one with curly hair and the other with straight hair, have brown skin and dots for eyes. One grown-up has long blond hair and pale skin, and the other has brown curly hair and brown skin. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A solid seaside escapade that will sit nicely alongside other books on the five senses. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-77164-739-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Greystone Kids

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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From the Big Bright Feelings series

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance.

A boy with wings learns to be himself and inspires others like him to soar, too.

Norman, a “perfectly normal” boy, never dreamed he might grow wings. Afraid of what his parents might say, he hides his new wings under a big, stuffy coat. Although the coat hides his wings from the world, Norman no longer finds joy in bathtime, playing at the park, swimming, or birthday parties. With the gentle encouragement of his parents, who see his sadness, Norman finds the courage to come out of hiding and soar. Percival (The Magic Looking Glass, 2017, etc.) depicts Norman with light skin and dark hair. Black-and-white illustrations show his father with dark skin and hair and his mother as white. The contrast of black-and-white illustrations with splashes of bright color complements the story’s theme. While Norman tries to be “normal,” the world and people around him look black and gray, but his coat stands out in yellow. Birds pop from the page in pink, green, and blue, emphasizing the joy and beauty of flying free. The final spread, full of bright color and multiracial children in flight, sets the mood for Norman’s realization on the last page that there is “no such thing as perfectly normal,” but he can be “perfectly Norman.”

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-785-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for...

Oliver, of first-day-of-school alligator fame, is back, imagining adventures and still struggling to find balance between introversion and extroversion.

“When Oliver found his egg…” on the playground, mint-green backgrounds signifying Oliver’s flight into fancy slowly grow larger until they take up entire spreads; Oliver’s creature, white and dinosaurlike with orange polka dots, grows larger with them. Their adventures include sharing treats, sailing the seas and going into outer space. A classmate’s yell brings him back to reality, where readers see him sitting on top of a rock. Even considering Schmid’s scribbly style, readers can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he ponders the girl and whether or not to give up his solitary play. “But when Oliver found his rock… // Oliver imagined many adventures // with all his friends!” This last is on a double gatefold that opens to show the children enjoying the creature’s slippery curves. A final wordless spread depicts all the children sitting on rocks, expressions gleeful, wondering, waiting, hopeful. The illustrations, done in pastel pencil and digital color, again make masterful use of white space and page turns, although this tale is not nearly as funny or tongue-in-cheek as Oliver and His Alligator (2013), nor is its message as clear and immediately accessible to children.

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for all children but sadly isn’t. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7573-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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