Subtly philosophical, quietly adventurous, and perfect for bedtime.

IF YOU LIVE HERE

Two young children dream of real and fantastical places to call home.

“If you live in a tree house…you’ll need to be a good listener,” opens the text. A double-page spread shows a girl with medium brown skin and Afro puffs and a boy with light brown skin and straight hair using headphones to listen to a record player and listening through a tin-can telephone to the chatter of a squirrel. The text goes on to imagine the special things you can do, qualities you must cultivate, or unique experiences you might have in other types of homes, including a spaceship, a train, an animal burrow, a castle, a candy store, a farm, a dollhouse, a nest, and more. The illustrations show the two children transported to each of the different dwelling places (the children are always drawn to scale) and feature repeating abstract and geometric shapes. The artwork is also chock-full of interesting and often tiny details; for example, when the children reside in a submarine, a nearby jellyfish reads a book, and when they live on a spaceship, green aliens dressed in spacesuits float by in outer space. Sometimes the text is amusing, but there are poignant moments: “If you live on a train, you know that everything changes,” and “if you live in a nest, you need to be ready to leave when it’s time.” Although frequently whimsical, this book gently encourages young readers to develop curiosity about domestic experiences outside of idealized and conventional representations.

Subtly philosophical, quietly adventurous, and perfect for bedtime. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 22, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-286532-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

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A soothing, logical, and playful introduction to mindfulness for young listeners.

I AM A PEACEFUL GOLDFISH

What can you do when things go wrong?

Two children contemplate different ways to calm themselves down in this straightforward introduction to breathing, relaxation, and mindfulness. The younger, White-presenting child follows suit when the older, brown-skinned child proposes imaginative calming techniques. They picture themselves as various animals (goldfish, elephants, dragons) and objects (pinwheels, dandelions, wind chimes, flowers), inhaling and exhaling, that make deep breathing and calming down concrete and easy to comprehend. Simplified, whimsical illustrations add a touch of humor and a wink to the 1970s while preventing the story from becoming cloying, as soft, gentle instructions help the characters (and listeners) to understand some of the mechanics behind how to intentionally breathe and decompress. While not necessarily something that children will pick up unless they are learning about practicing mindfulness, this informative title has charm and warmth and will give youngsters some ideas as to how to self-regulate and manage their feelings as they learn to be aware of their breathing. Endpapers feature a multiracial array of children’s faces expressing different emotions.

A soothing, logical, and playful introduction to mindfulness for young listeners. (author's note) (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 13, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77164-637-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Greystone Kids

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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