Bright, well-researched, and welcome.

FRED'S BIG FEELINGS

THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF MISTER ROGERS

An account of the life of this humble giant of children’s television.

Children know about emotions perhaps before any other concepts—big emotions, too, like fear, sadness, frustration, joy, love. Fred Rogers understood this and used the medium of television to connect with children and help them manage and accept their emotions. From a childhood often spent inside and isolated from other children who bullied him to his career change from ministry to children’s media, Rogers’ life was punctuated and driven by the emotions he felt, recognized, and then used to add authenticity and tenderness to his television shows. Using second person, as well as Rogers’ iconic phrase, “Hello neighbor,” Renauld’s lively, approachable text welcomes young readers in the same way that Rogers welcomed his young viewers into his living-room set. Words describing emotions are italicized throughout for emphasis and recognition by children, and myriad details offer touchstones for grown-ups familiar with the show. Bold colors spotlight each spread, especially an array of individual panels that illustrate the feelings children experience daily. The book ends as it began, with a message validating each reader’s intrinsic worth; it’s one we should all have in our hearts, every day of our lives. A note from the author offers additional biographical details. It’s an excellent companion to You Are My Friend, by Aimee Reid and Matt Phelan (2019), with a personality all its own.

Bright, well-researched, and welcome. (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4122-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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Vital information for young media consumers; it couldn’t be timelier.

FACTS VS. OPINIONS VS. ROBOTS

Charismatic robots populate this primer for kids growing up in an era when facts are considered debatable and opinions are oft expressed loudly and without empathy.

Rex tackles a very serious topic infrequently addressed in kids’ books: how to tell the difference between provable facts and far-less-provable opinions. To do this, Rex employs a handful of colorful and chatty robot pals who run through enough examples to make the distinctions clear. For instance, it’s a fact that the blue robot has two arms while the gold robot has four. However, while they both like to dance, it’s less certain there’s a definitive answer to the question: “Which of them has the coolest moves?” When the green and yellow robots share their preferences for ice cream (yes, robots eat ice cream, just add oil or nuts and bolts), it turns into a fight that might have come off a Twitter thread (“We are getting chocolate!” “No way, buckethead!”). Via a series of reboots, the robots learn how to respect opinions and engage in compromise. It’s a welcome use of skill-building to counter an information landscape filled with calls of “Fake news!” and toxic online discourse. Rex never says that these ’bots sometimes act like social media bots when they disagree, but he doesn’t have to. Perhaps most importantly, Rex’s robots demonstrate that in the absence of enough information, it’s perfectly fine to wait before acting.

Vital information for young media consumers; it couldn’t be timelier. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-1626-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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Sage, soothing ideas for a busy, loud, sometimes-divisive world.

GRANDMA'S GARDENS

In an inviting picture book, Chelsea and Hillary Clinton share personal revelations on how gardening with a grandmother, a mother, and children shapes and nurtures a love and respect for nature, beauty, and a general philosophy for life.

Grandma Dorothy, the former senator, secretary of state, and presidential candidate’s mother, loved gardens, appreciating the multiple benefits they yielded for herself and her family. The Clinton women reminisce about their beloved forebear and all she taught them in a color-coded, alternating text, blue for Chelsea and green for Hillary. Via brief yet explicit remembrances, they share what they learned, observed, and most of all enjoyed in gardens with her. Each double-page spread culminates in a declarative statement set in italicized red text invoking Dorothy’s wise words. Gardens can be many things: places for celebration, discovery and learning, vehicles for teaching responsibility in creating beauty, home to wildlife large and small, a place to share stories and develop memories. Though operating from very personal experience rooted in class privilege, the mother-daughter duo mostly succeeds in imparting a universally significant message: Whether visiting a public garden or working in the backyard, generations can cultivate a lasting bond. Lemniscates uses an appropriately floral palette to evoke the gardens explored by these three white women. A Spanish edition, Los jardines de la abuela, publishes simultaneously; Teresa Mlawer’s translation is fluid and pleasing, in at least one case improving on the original.

Sage, soothing ideas for a busy, loud, sometimes-divisive world. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-11535-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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