Enjoyable, though it has the feeling of a retread.

GAME OF GNOMES

The gnome-filled fun continues in this companion book to Mayer and Horton’s charming Go Big or Go Gnome (2017).

Everygnome knows Ginger thanks to her curly red hair, but the spirited lass would rather be known for something else. When her friends Al and Gnorm remind her of the upcoming Winter Gnome Games, Ginger decides to compete to show the other gnomes that she’s much more than just awesome hair. “I can rock this!” The big day comes, and Ginger is ready. She shreds on her sled, she spins and zooms during the figure-skating competition, and she shows off her hockey skills during the curling event. Unfortunately, she doesn’t quite stick to the game rules at each competition. “Disqualified!” cries Englebert, the Grandmaster of the Gnome Games. Even readers not familiar with Mayer and Horton’s previous outing will guess what’s coming next, yet Ginger is likable enough to carry the story through its less-than-inspired second half. When a squirrel takes Al for an unexpected ride, Ginger steps up to save her friend, consequently earning the other gnomes’ respect and admiration (even the cantankerous Englebert’s). Featuring Mayer’s lighthearted narratorial voice, amusing details, and some returning characters, Ginger’s adventure also shares with its predecessor a bare-bones narrative and a nice if dull ending. Meanwhile, Horton’s dynamic illustrations continue to please with a diverse cast of gnomes—though the primary cast is an all-pale one—and scenes full of antics in winter wonderlands.

Enjoyable, though it has the feeling of a retread. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-12394-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2017

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Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children.

AN ABC OF EQUALITY

Social-equity themes are presented to children in ABC format.

Terms related to intersectional inequality, such as “class,” “gender,” “privilege,” “oppression,” “race,” and “sex,” as well as other topics important to social justice such as “feminism,” “human being,” “immigration,” “justice,” “kindness,” “multicultural,” “transgender,” “understanding,” and “value” are named and explained. There are 26 in all, one for each letter of the alphabet. Colorful two-page spreads with kid-friendly illustrations present each term. First the term is described: “Belief is when you are confident something exists even if you can’t see it. Lots of different beliefs fill the world, and no single belief is right for everyone.” On the facing page it concludes: “B is for BELIEF / Everyone has different beliefs.” It is hard to see who the intended audience for this little board book is. Babies and toddlers are busy learning the names for their body parts, familiar objects around them, and perhaps some basic feelings like happy, hungry, and sad; slightly older preschoolers will probably be bewildered by explanations such as: “A value is an expression of how to live a belief. A value can serve as a guide for how you behave around other human beings. / V is for VALUE / Live your beliefs out loud.”

Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children. (Board book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-742-8

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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A useful primer for socioemotional growth.

I AM OKAY TO FEEL

Queer Eye star Karamo Brown and his son Jason “Rachel” Brown affirm that all feelings—even negative ones—are OK.

A round-faced boy with brown skin, big brown eyes, and a bright smile walks outside, talking with his dad about feelings. With the son’s speech printed in blue and Dad’s in black, the boy announces that he’s happy and shows it by jumping and spinning while Dad dances. The book’s palette, which often reflects the boy’s emotional state, shifts drastically when a thunderstorm blows in as the sky swirls with patterns in deep blue and purple, and a thick yellow lightning bolt blasts through—a dramatic scene that represents the boy’s perception of the turbulent weather as he sits on the ground crying, hugging his knees. Dad assures him that it’s all right to feel and express fear and helps him calm these negative emotions by encouraging him to stretch and breathe deeply. While the book’s lesson is conveyed in a slightly heavy-handed manner, it’s a good message, and readers will appreciate seeing a story that centers a Black father and son dispelling the stereotype that men and boys—especially those of color—don’t or shouldn’t express emotions. The backmatter includes an emotion wheel with the boy showing a range of facial expressions, accompanied by activities and questions. The acronym “FEEL OKAY” offers opportunities to practice discussing emotions. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A useful primer for socioemotional growth. (authors’ note) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-63893-010-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Zando

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2022

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