Like its predecessor, this Japanese import is an excellent storytime choice. (Picture book. 3-7)

999 FROGS WAKE UP

The froglets who once were 999 Tadpoles (2011) wake from hibernation for an eventful spring.

First, big brother oversleeps. Then, the band of brothers and sisters set out to wake others to enjoy the season and the cherry blossoms. They rouse turtle, then lizard and then a mass of ladybugs. But, oh-oh, the next creature is a big red snake. This sequel is just as child friendly as its predecessor—simple and satisfying. Artful page turns add suspense even before the scary snake wakes up. The story moves along briskly, carried in dialogue as well as narrative. Mother Frog saves the day, and the turtle, grateful at being awoken in time for spring, removes the threat. Murakami’s yellow-eyed frogs are surprisingly expressive. Gray-spotted shapes of green against a clean white background, they bounce across the pages, sometimes standing around in a group and sometimes scurrying off. When big brother recognizes the snake, his little pink mouth widens into a terrified grimace. Brown Mother Frog is different in color and size. Big brother is larger, too. The other 998 are largely indistinguishable. Murakami’s landscape is only suggested; the imagination supplies the details.

Like its predecessor, this Japanese import is an excellent storytime choice. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4108-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

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RAIN SCHOOL

It takes a village to make a school. In Chad, big brothers and sisters lead the way for younger children on the first day of school. Little Thomas is full of questions. When he and the other children arrive, there are no classrooms and no desks. But the teacher's there, holding a trowel. "We will build our school," she declares. Everyone sets to work, making mud bricks that dry in the sun and a roof out of grass and saplings. Thomas loves his lessons; every day he learns something new. At the end of the school year, the minds of the students "are fat with knowledge." And just in time: The rainy season arrives and makes short work of the schoolhouse. Come September, they'll start all over. Rumford's illustrations make great use of color, dark brown skin and bright shirts, shorts and dresses against golden backgrounds, the hues applied in smudgy layers that infuse each scene with warmth—until the gray rains arrive. It's a nifty social-studies lesson tucked into a warm tale of community. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-547-24307-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children.

THE NIGHT IS YOURS

On hot summer nights, Amani’s parents permit her to go outside and play in the apartment courtyard, where the breeze is cool and her friends are waiting.

The children jump rope to the sounds of music as it floats through a neighbor’s window, gaze at stars in the night sky, and play hide-and-seek in the moonlight. It is in the moonlight that Amani and her friends are themselves found by the moon, and it illumines the many shades of their skin, which vary from light tan to deep brown. In a world where darkness often evokes ideas of evil or fear, this book is a celebration of things that are dark and beautiful—like a child’s dark skin and the night in which she plays. The lines “Show everyone else how to embrace the night like you. Teach them how to be a night-owning girl like you” are as much an appeal for her to love and appreciate her dark skin as they are the exhortation for Amani to enjoy the night. There is a sense of security that flows throughout this book. The courtyard is safe and homelike. The moon, like an additional parent, seems to be watching the children from the sky. The charming full-bleed illustrations, done in washes of mostly deep blues and greens, make this a wonderful bedtime story.

Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55271-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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