Harnett’s illustrations are colorful and charming, but because Ivy isn’t an agent in her own recovery, this tale of the...

READ REVIEW

IVY AND THE LONELY RAINCLOUD

A rain cloud befriends a grumpy young florist by helping to reinvigorate her distressed plants.

Its companions scattered by “the horrible, hot sun,” the rain cloud (gendered as “he”) begins to search for a friend. Spotting a solitary, grumpy-looking brown girl in a yellow dress, white socks, and red shoes, the cloud follows her—to the market, onto the metro, and to her doorstep—where she roundly rebuffs him: “Leave me alone!” The cause of Ivy’s discontent eludes the cloud, but readers will spot some visual clues. She runs a florist shop, and her plants and flowers are wilting and droopy, despite her glum attention. She sits at her desk, head in hands. On a wall are pictures—one of Ivy smiling in the shop window and another with a man and woman: her parents? There’s a framed award. Recognizing that Ivy is sad and feeling sorry for her, the rain cloud begins to water Ivy’s plants after she goes to bed. She’s greeted next morning by a shop full of lush, hydrated plants, and she and the rain cloud thenceforth grow “beautiful flowers together, come rain or shine.” Literal-minded children might well ask: why is a child living and working all by herself?

Harnett’s illustrations are colorful and charming, but because Ivy isn’t an agent in her own recovery, this tale of the restorative power of friendship seems imperfectly resolved for young readers. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-911171-15-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flying Eye Books

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A valuable asset to the library of a child who experiences anxiety and a great book to get children talking about their...

RUBY FINDS A WORRY

Ruby is an adventurous and happy child until the day she discovers a Worry.

Ruby barely sees the Worry—depicted as a blob of yellow with a frowny unibrow—at first, but as it hovers, the more she notices it and the larger it grows. The longer Ruby is affected by this Worry, the fewer colors appear on the page. Though she tries not to pay attention to the Worry, which no one else can see, ignoring it prevents her from enjoying the things that she once loved. Her constant anxiety about the Worry causes the bright yellow blob to crowd Ruby’s everyday life, which by this point is nearly all washes of gray and white. But at the playground, Ruby sees a boy sitting on a bench with a growing sky-blue Worry of his own. When she invites the boy to talk, his Worry begins to shrink—and when Ruby talks about her own Worry, it also grows smaller. By the book’s conclusion, Ruby learns to control her Worry by talking about what worries her, a priceless lesson for any child—or adult—conveyed in a beautifully child-friendly manner. Ruby presents black, with hair in cornrows and two big afro-puff pigtails, while the boy has pale skin and spiky black hair.

A valuable asset to the library of a child who experiences anxiety and a great book to get children talking about their feelings . (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0237-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history.

THE SCARECROW

Ferry and the Fans portray a popular seasonal character’s unlikely friendship.

Initially, the protagonist is shown in his solitary world: “Scarecrow stands alone and scares / the fox and deer, / the mice and crows. / It’s all he does. It’s all he knows.” His presence is effective; the animals stay outside the fenced-in fields, but the omniscient narrator laments the character’s lack of friends or places to go. Everything changes when a baby crow falls nearby. Breaking his pole so he can bend, the scarecrow picks it up, placing the creature in the bib of his overalls while singing a lullaby. Both abandon natural tendencies until the crow learns to fly—and thus departs. The aabb rhyme scheme flows reasonably well, propelling the narrative through fall, winter, and spring, when the mature crow returns with a mate to build a nest in the overalls bib that once was his home. The Fan brothers capture the emotional tenor of the seasons and the main character in their panoramic pencil, ballpoint, and digital compositions. Particularly poignant is the close-up of the scarecrow’s burlap face, his stitched mouth and leaf-rimmed head conveying such sadness after his companion goes. Some adults may wonder why the scarecrow seems to have only partial agency, but children will be tuned into the problem, gratified by the resolution.

A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-247576-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more