An approachable concept book for very early beginning readers with word pairs and illustrations sure to inspire grins—and...

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Wish

A dandelion seed goes on a journey after being blown by a child’s wish in this delightful, simply worded, brightly colored concept book by Susskind (So You Think You Babysit Monsters?. 2013, etc.) and illustrated by Tadić.

On the opening two-page spread, the word “Wish!” commands a young girl to blow the dandelion she holds in front of her. With a “Whoosh” and “Wee” on the next spread, the journey of the dandelion seed begins. The computer-designed images, with the simple facial expressions on the dandelion seed hero, are in bold colors and incorporate the very few vocabulary words into the imagery well. Susskind chooses related, alliterative word pairs for each spread, and the combinations are often clever and occasionally truly delightful. The dandelion flies farther away from its original home, dancing in the air past farms and mountains, bumping into—and sleeping on—clouds. In the “drip / dry” pair, a poor, soaked seed is caught in a storm, but after the rain ends, it quickly spins dry. Finally, after tickling a baby and beckoning a dog to chase it, the seed falls to the ground, where it can “rest” and “root.” In a quick development, the seed plants itself and grows into a dandelion with a huge yellow tuft. But that golden crown doesn’t last, and soon the adult dandelion’s head is full of a brand new batch of seeds, just waiting for a child to come along and wish them onto their own journeys. The illustrations throughout are always cheerful; even when soaked, the seed looks like it’s having a tremendous amount of fun, and the happy expression it has when, as a growing dandelion, it’s chatting with a bee will make readers want to smile right along. The faces of the children are not quite as approachable as the cartoonish seed, and the background details are often rudimentary, but young readers may be satisfied with the basic, soft illustrations. It’s the words and word pairs here that inspire the most fun, however, and Susskind’s selections, sometimes obvious and other times surprising, will let newly independent readers gain confidence while experimenting with sounding out words on their own.

An approachable concept book for very early beginning readers with word pairs and illustrations sure to inspire grins—and maybe some wishes of their own.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-9857032-8-8

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Good Manners Kids Stuff Press

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2016

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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LAST DAY BLUES

From the Mrs. Hartwell's Classroom Adventures series

One more myth dispelled for all the students who believe that their teachers live in their classrooms. During the last week of school, Mrs. Hartwell and her students reflect on the things they will miss, while also looking forward to the fun that summer will bring. The kids want to cheer up their teacher, whom they imagine will be crying over lesson plans and missing them all summer long. But what gift will cheer her up? Numerous ideas are rejected, until Eddie comes up with the perfect plan. They all cooperate to create a rhyming ode to the school year and their teacher. Love’s renderings of the children are realistic, portraying the diversity of modern-day classrooms, from dress and expression to gender and skin color. She perfectly captures the emotional trauma the students imagine their teachers will go through as they leave for the summer. Her final illustration hysterically shatters that myth, and will have every teacher cheering aloud. What a perfect end to the school year. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-58089-046-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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