There’s plenty of room on the new-baby shelf for this sturdy big brother

I'M A BIG BROTHER NOW

A little black boy revels in filling “one of the most important roles in the family”—big brother.

The little boy, who looks to be about 4 or 5, tells readers how he helped Mommy and Daddy before the baby arrived, how he waited with Grandma while his parents were at the hospital, and how he adapts to the new family member. Hudson lays out a best-case scenario for her narrator and his family: he helps with apparently unflagging cheer. He proudly shares that he “knew how to dial 911 and call Daddy if the baby came early,” a detail absent from most baby-on-the-way books that’s presented matter-of-factly and without alarmism. Although the narrator is very close to a big-brother ideal, he does express disgust with “stinky diapers,” frustration with “people telling me to SHHHH because the baby is sleeping,” and disappointment when a parent can’t play because “I have to take care of the baby.” By the end of the book, the narrator understands more fully the role of big brother and is able knowledgeably to answer “Good” when “Daddy asks how my new job is going.” Walker’s airy watercolors evince on every page the love the members of this comfortably middle-class, all-black family feel for one another. Next to them, the bold, sans-serif typeface can look jarring, but it has the advantage of being easy to read for children transitioning into independence.

There’s plenty of room on the new-baby shelf for this sturdy big brother . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-1933491-21-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Marimba Books

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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A quiet story of sharing with no strings attached.

EXTRA YARN

A little girl in a town of white snow and soot-blackened chimneys opens a small box and discovers a never-ending gift of colorful yarn.

Annabelle knits herself a sweater, and with the leftover yarn, she knits one for her dog, and with the yarn left over from that, she knits one for a neighbor and for her classmates and for her teacher and for her family and for the birdhouse and for the buildings in town. All and everything are warm, cozy and colorful until a clotheshorse of an archduke arrives. Annabelle refuses his monetary offers, whereupon the box is stolen. The greedy archduke gets his just deserts when he opens the box to find it empty. It wends its way back to Annabelle, who ends up happily sitting in a knit-covered tree. Klassen, who worked on the film Coraline, uses inks, gouache and colorized scans of a sweater to create a stylized, linear design of dark geometric shapes against a white background. The stitches of the sweaters add a subdued rainbow. Barnett entertained middle-grade readers with his Brixton Brothers detective series. Here, he maintains a folkloric narrative that results in a traditional story arc complete with repetition, drama and a satisfying conclusion.

A quiet story of sharing with no strings attached. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-06-195338-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

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