Young activist dreamers will appreciate the new perspective and environmental call to action.

READ REVIEW

THE GIRL WHO SPOKE TO THE MOON

A new perspective can sometimes work wonders.

Awakened one night by a noise, Sofia finds her gaze following a beam of light to the Moon’s winking eye, and they chat. “From this night on, a friendship grew / into a bond both strong and true.” Later, Sofia, presented with a light complexion and dark hair and eyes, notices the Moon is sad and wants to help. She follows the Moon’s suggestion and visits the Moon in a dream. As Sofia looks from the Moon toward Earth, Moon explains that Mother Earth is her “closest relative,” but Earth’s “people seem so unaware / that what Earth needs is better care.” Moon suggests simple things everyone can do to take care of Mother Earth, and Sofia makes “a pledge of things to do / like passing on these words to you.” While the often forced rhyme is light on specifics, backmatter defines air, land, and water pollution, then presents a bulleted list of everyday activities that can help keep “Earth clean and healthy.” Sidebars in the backmatter include insightful reflections from male and female astronauts who witnessed planet Earth from space. Realistic illustrations mostly in neutral creams and grays capture the “pearl” and “opal glow” of Sofia’s moon but may not capture the attention of young readers.

Young activist dreamers will appreciate the new perspective and environmental call to action. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4926-9873-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Pickle Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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Readers will agree: All differences should be hugged, er, embraced.

BIRD HUGS

Watch out, Hug Machine (Scott Campbell, 2014), there’s another long-limbed lover of squeezes in the mix.

Bernard, a tiny, lavender bird, dejectedly sits atop a high branch. His wings droop all the way to the ground. Heaving a sigh, his disappointment is palpable. With insufferably long wings, he has never been able to fly. All of his friends easily took to the skies, leaving him behind. There is nothing left to do but sit in his tree and feel sorry for himself. Adamson amusingly shows readers the passage of time with a sequence of vignettes of Bernard sitting in the rain, the dark, and amid a cloud of paper wasps—never moving from his branch. Then one day he hears a sob and finds a tearful orangutan. Without even thinking, Bernard wraps his long wings around the great ape. The orangutan is comforted! Bernard has finally found the best use of his wings. In gentle watercolor and pencil sketches, Adamson slips in many moments of humor. Animals come from all over to tell Bernard their troubles (a lion muses that it is “lonely at the top of the food chain” while a bat worries about missing out on fun during the day). Three vertical spreads that necessitate a 90-degree rotation add to the fun.

Readers will agree: All differences should be hugged, er, embraced. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9271-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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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

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