This quirky kid and his loving family will instantly endear themselves to readers.

READ REVIEW

GREEN PANTS

A little boy has a big decision to make when asked to be in his cousin’s wedding.

In a story in which all key characters are depicted as people of color with brown skin and varied hair textures, Jameson is a brown boy who loves his green pants. He wears them daily and resists others’ attempts to get him to wear pants of different colors. Softly textured watercolor-and-pencil illustrations inject humor into his resistance by showing Jameson throwing pants of various hues out the window, depicting a dog with red pants on its hind legs, and showing a pair of blue pants flying atop a flag pole. But Jameson’s devotion to his green pants (which make him feel that he “could do anything”) creates conflict when his cousin’s fiancee, Jo, whom Jameson adores, asks him to be in their wedding. He agrees but is aghast when his mother explains he must wear a tuxedo with black pants. He agonizes over the decision until the wedding day, when he sees Jo at the church, and his devotion to her overrides his attachment to green pants. It’s a glorious day with a satisfying ending that shows Jameson stripping off his black tuxedo pants to reveal green ones before he tears up the dance floor. Kraegel’s text displays deep respect for both children’s quirks and their right to those quirks, Jameson’s mother over and over reinforcing for him that the decision (be in the wedding with black pants or in the congregation with green ones) is his.

This quirky kid and his loving family will instantly endear themselves to readers. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8840-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught...

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A PROBLEM?

A child struggles with the worry and anxiety that come with an unexpected problem.

In a wonderful balance of text and pictures, the team responsible for What Do You Do With an Idea (2014) returns with another book inspiring children to feel good about themselves. A child frets about a problem that won’t go away: “I wished it would just disappear. I tried everything I could to hide from it. I even found ways to disguise myself. But it still found me.” The spare, direct narrative is accompanied by soft gray illustrations in pencil and watercolor. The sepia-toned figure of the child is set apart from the background and surrounded by lots of white space, visually isolating the problem, which is depicted as a purple storm cloud looming overhead. Color is added bit by bit as the storm cloud grows and its color becomes more saturated. With a backpack and umbrella, the child tries to escape the problem while the storm swirls, awash with compass points scattered across the pages. The pages brighten into splashes of yellow as the child decides to tackle the problem head-on and finds that it holds promise for unlooked-for opportunity.

A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught situations, this belongs on the shelf alongside Molly Bang’s Sophie books. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-943-20000-9

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A sweet and far-from-cloying ode to love.

THE LOVE LETTER

A mysterious love letter brightens the lives of three forest animals.

Appealing mixed-media illustrations made of ink, gouache, brush marker, and colored pencil combine with a timely message that one kind act can start a chain reaction of kindness. When Hedgehog, Bunny, and Squirrel stumble in turn upon a formally composed love letter, each finds their life improved: Squirrel is less anxious, Bunny spreads goodwill through helpfulness, and Hedgehog is unusually cheerful. As the friends converge to try to discover who sent the letter, the real author appears in a (rather) convenient turn: a mouse who wrote an ode to the moon. Though disappointed that the letter was never meant for them, the friends reflect that the letter still made the world a happier place, making it a “wonderful mix-up.” Since there’s a lot of plot to follow, the book will best serve more-observant readers who are able to piece the narrative cleanly, but those older readers may also better appreciate the special little touches, such as the letter’s enticing, old-fashioned typewriter-style look, vignettes that capture small moments, or the subdued color palette that lends an elegant air. Drawn with minimalist, scribbly lines, the creatures achieve an invigorating balance between charming and spontaneous, with smudged lines that hint at layers of fur and simple, dotted facial expressions.

A sweet and far-from-cloying ode to love. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-274157-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more