A visual treat, even if Little Bird is a little much.

READ REVIEW

LITTLE BIRD, BE QUIET!

A loquacious bird is first shunned then valued for his talkative nature.

Little Bird has a lot to say. He asks questions of his parents, tries to engage with his siblings and chatters on to other woodland creatures. No one has time for him or any interest in what he has to say, so he retreats to a little brook. There, he finds another bird who doesn’t tell him to “Be quiet!” and instead “smile[s], laugh[s], and flap[s] his wings at everything Little Bird sa[ys].” Accompanying illustrations reveal that Little Bird is talking to his own reflection in the brook, and here the story unravels a bit: Whereas earlier scenes might provoke sympathy for Little Bird when others ignore him, this scene develops him as an incessant chatterbox less interested in back-and-forth conversation than in stream-of-consciousness soliloquy. He fails to notice that he’s talking to himself or that “the bird in the water” doesn’t respond to his questions and comments. Nevertheless, his family and the other animals end up missing his chatter, and they tell him so and welcome their garrulous loved one back into the fold. Gibson’s illustrations are made of photographed tableaux of the animal characters and setting detail sculpted from fabric and other materials, and they steal the show with lively, expressive characterization.

A visual treat, even if Little Bird is a little much. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-60905-520-2

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Blue Apple

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2014

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Gently encourages empathy, compassion, and consideration.

TOMORROW I'LL BE KIND

How will you behave tomorrow?

Utilizing the same format and concept of her popular Tomorrow I’ll Be Brave (2018), Hische presents young listeners with short, studied rhymes that describe various positive attributes (being helpful, patient, gentle, honest, generous, graceful, and kind). Also included are kid-friendly ways to incorporate these behaviors into daily life, with the underlying goal of making the world a better place. The illustrations, which feature friends in the forms of a mouse, cat, and rabbit, are colorful and appealing, and they extend the text by showing some additional ways of realizing the characteristics mentioned. Overall, the intentions are aboveboard, but this is a volume intended to teach about positive values and behavior, and as such, it comes across as somewhat treacly and proselytizing. The key words, incorporated into the illustrations in a graphic manner, are sometimes a bit difficult to read, and occasionally, select vocabulary and phrases (“to myself I will be true”; “my heart, my guiding light”) seem better suited for an older readership. Still, as an introduction to personality characteristics, beneficial behaviors, and social-emotional skills, this is a solid choice, and fans of the previous volume are likely to embrace this one as well. “I’ll dream of all the good that comes / when we all just do our best,” the text explains—a sentiment that’s hard to rebut.

Gently encourages empathy, compassion, and consideration. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-8704-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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A nice sentiment marred somewhat by its forced verse.

A BOOK OF LOVE

A how-to book of love.

Valentine’s Day brings a new crop of books each year about love, including at least one that attempts to define and exemplify love. This is that book for 2020. “We often show our love with touch, / like a great big hug or kiss. / But there are lots of ways to show you care, / and ideas not to miss.” These include being patient, listening to someone who’s having a tough day, gifts, kind deeds (like washing the dishes), “forgiving and forgetting,” sharing with siblings, standing up for people, and looking past faults. In some cases, the pictures may not aid much in comprehension, especially with the younger audience the rhymes are meant to appeal to: “To offer a gentle word or two, / and consider how others feel, / are both examples of selfless acts / that prove your love is real” (one child cheers on a frightened soloist at a recital—does that really illustrate selflessness?). The meter is sometimes off, and in a few cases it’s clear words were chosen for rhyme rather than meaning. Bright illustrations fill the pages with adorable children readers can trace throughout the book. The final two spreads are the strongest: One depicts a robustly diverse crowd of people all holding hands and smiling; the other is a starry spread over a neighborhood full of homes, hearts spangling the sky.

A nice sentiment marred somewhat by its forced verse. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9331-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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