For Berkner’s fans; there are much better books about children visiting imaginative lands.

PILLOWLAND

Berkner’s children’s song gets the picture-book treatment with illustrations from Garoche.

What kid hasn’t made a massive pillow fort and imagined all sorts of adventures? Well, Berkner’s premise is that there is a land where everything is made of pillows, and three lucky children get to visit there. (They appear to be siblings, perhaps a blended family: Mom and one girl are black; Dad, one boy, and one girl are white.) The illustrations transition between depictions of obvious imaginative play in a bedroom to a fantasy world and back again at the end, when the parents peek in at the three asleep. Garoche’s art consists of photos of papercut artwork arranged in dioramas with some Photoshop details. Reminiscent of Michael Garland’s work (though more pastel in color) or that of Elly McKay (though less ethereal), the illustrations are a mixed bag, with layers and hard edges juxtaposed against all the pillows. The king and queen of the song are obviously stand-ins for the parents. Children who know the tune may not sit still for a reading, while those who don’t may wonder at the repeated refrain.

For Berkner’s fans; there are much better books about children visiting imaginative lands. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6467-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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THE GIRL WHO LOVED WILD HORSES

            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children.

THE NIGHT IS YOURS

On hot summer nights, Amani’s parents permit her to go outside and play in the apartment courtyard, where the breeze is cool and her friends are waiting.

The children jump rope to the sounds of music as it floats through a neighbor’s window, gaze at stars in the night sky, and play hide-and-seek in the moonlight. It is in the moonlight that Amani and her friends are themselves found by the moon, and it illumines the many shades of their skin, which vary from light tan to deep brown. In a world where darkness often evokes ideas of evil or fear, this book is a celebration of things that are dark and beautiful—like a child’s dark skin and the night in which she plays. The lines “Show everyone else how to embrace the night like you. Teach them how to be a night-owning girl like you” are as much an appeal for her to love and appreciate her dark skin as they are the exhortation for Amani to enjoy the night. There is a sense of security that flows throughout this book. The courtyard is safe and homelike. The moon, like an additional parent, seems to be watching the children from the sky. The charming full-bleed illustrations, done in washes of mostly deep blues and greens, make this a wonderful bedtime story.

Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55271-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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