Hurry up and buy this charming book.

HURRY UP!

A BOOK ABOUT SLOWING DOWN

A child learns to change the pace in this playful picture book.

A brown-skinned child with energetic, straight hair wakes to “hurry up,” flies down the stairs, backpack in tow, and out the door to the school bus. At school, children of various racial presentations “hurry here. / Hurry there. / Hurry, scurry everywhere!” Leaving school, getting home, starting homework, and taking the dog out all happen in a hurry—until the child and dog reach a meadow and “STOP. // Slow things down.” Looking closely at nature and the landscape, playing fetch, and exploring until the sun goes down become ways to slow it down, right through bedtime. The spare, rhyming text is fun to read aloud, and it conveys a too-familiar feeling of helter-skelter frenzy that settles into a friendlier pace suited to attention to the world and then relaxation. The illustrations use rows of chairs, rows of houses, crowds of children, and flying papers to represent chaos, competition, and stress, then close-ups, panoramic views, and saturated colors to show the sources of calm and restorative slowness. This story is sure to strike a chord with many a modern family; it’s a wonderful addition to a bedtime collection to settle in with at the end of a hectic day.

Hurry up and buy this charming book. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2497-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

I AM ENOUGH

A feel-good book about self-acceptance.

Empire star Byers and Bobo offer a beautifully illustrated, rhyming picture book detailing what one brown-skinned little girl with an impressive Afro appreciates about herself. Relying on similes, the text establishes a pattern with the opening sentence, “Like the sun, I’m here to shine,” and follows it through most of the book. Some of them work well, while others fall flat: “Like the rain, I’m here to pour / and drip and fall until I’m full.” In some vignettes she’s by herself; and in others, pictured along with children of other races. While the book’s pro-diversity message comes through, the didactic and even prideful expressions of self-acceptance make the book exasperatingly preachy—a common pitfall for books by celebrity authors. In contrast, Bobo’s illustrations are visually stunning. After painting the children and the objects with which they interact, such as flowers, books, and a red wagon, in acrylic on board for a traditional look, she scanned the images into Adobe Photoshop and added the backgrounds digitally in chalk. This lends a whimsical feel to such details as a rainbow, a window, wind, and rain—all reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Bobo creates an inclusive world of girls in which wearing glasses, using a wheelchair, wearing a head scarf, and having a big Afro are unconditionally accepted rather than markers for othering.

A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266712-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life.

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BE YOU!

An inspirational picture book offers life advice for readers who want to be themselves.

Replete with sparkling, often quirky illustrations of children living their best lives, this book is a gorgeous guidebook for those seeking encouragement while encountering life’s challenges. The children featured—a racially diverse group ranging from infants to preschoolers—cheerfully navigate the various injunctions that flow through the text: “Be curious.…Be adventurous.…Be persistent.…Be kind.” What is remarkable about the book is that even though the instructions and the brief sentences explaining them are at times vague, the illustrations expand on them in ways readers will find endearing and uplifting. Those depicting painful or challenging moments are especially effective. The “Be persistent” double-page spread shows a child in a boat on stormy seas; it’s rich with deep blues as it emphasizes the energy of wind and rain and struggle in the face of challenge. Together with the accompanying repeated phrase “Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop,” this spread arrests readers. By contrast, the “Be kind. Be understanding” spread simply presents two children’s faces, one cast in blue and the other in gold, but the empathy that Reynolds conveys is similarly captivating. While there is no plot to pull readers through the pages, the book provides rich fodder for caregivers to use as teachable moments, both informally and in classroom settings.

Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-57231-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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