Charming illustrations can’t save this lackluster effort.

BIRDIE FLIES AWAY/ PAJARILLO SE VA VOLANDO

In this largely forgettable bilingual tale, Birdie finally leaves the safety of the nest.

A presumably Latina girl narrates the story of the bird family living outside her window. “There was a Papa, Mama and four little babies.” While the mother bird and her babies rest in the nest, Papa goes in search of food, and the babies grow. Soon, both parents are out gathering food for the hungry quartet. “One day Papa noticed that his babies were singing louder and louder. That showed him that they were happy birds and that made Papa very happy. He sang, too.” As the young birds age, they begin exploring the branch beyond their nest and eating more food, “except for Birdie, the smallest bird of all.” The other birds fly away and bring back their own food, but Birdie remains with Mama and Papa: “He liked the way Mama and Papa cleaned him, fed him, ruffled his feathers, and kept him warm when he slept between them.” Then, Birdie is gone, off flying by himself, and the tale abruptly ends. Yomtob’s colorful, humorous illustrations bring some life to Aragon’s often awkward story. Purple English text precedes the red Spanish version, and the illustrated vocabulary list is notable for its brevity and lack of indefinite Spanish articles.

Charming illustrations can’t save this lackluster effort. (glossary) (Bilingual picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-60448-022-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Lectura

Review Posted Online: March 21, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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The joys of counting combine with pretty art and homage to Goodnight Moon.

GOODNIGHT, NUMBERS

This bedtime book offers simple rhymes, celebrates the numbers one through 10, and encourages the counting of objects.

Each double-page spread shows a different toddler-and-caregiver pair, with careful attention to different skin tones, hair types, genders, and eye shapes. The pastel palette and soft, rounded contours of people and things add to the sleepy litany of the poems, beginning with “Goodnight, one fork. / Goodnight, one spoon. / Goodnight, one bowl. / I’ll see you soon.” With each number comes a different part in a toddler’s evening routine, including dinner, putting away toys, bathtime, and a bedtime story. The white backgrounds of the pages help to emphasize the bold representations of the numbers in both written and numerical forms. Each spread gives multiple opportunities to practice counting to its particular number; for example, the page for “four” includes four bottles of shampoo and four inlaid dots on a stool—beyond the four objects mentioned in the accompanying rhyme. Each home’s décor, and the array and types of toys and accoutrements within, shows a decidedly upscale, Western milieu. This seems compatible with the patronizing author’s note to adults, which accuses “the media” of indoctrinating children with fear of math “in our country.” Regardless, this sweet treatment of numbers and counting may be good prophylaxis against math phobia.

The joys of counting combine with pretty art and homage to Goodnight Moon. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-93378-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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