IF SOMEBODY LIVED NEXT DOOR

Little Olivia Wendell is without neighbors, so she has learned to play alone. In her imagination, she populates the empty house next door with an inviting family and lots of lively farm animals. At story's end, a moving van appears in front of the vacant house and a girl just Olivia's age arrives at the gate between the two yards. The universal preschooler's wish for a friend is happily granted in Hough's very simple first book, although slightly older children will wonder why Olivia doesn't go to school and why no parents or siblings appear—she sleeps in a blanket in a chair at night. Kvasnosky (Mr. Chips, 1996) graces the book with her distinctive illustrations, in which boldly drawn forms are not quite filled with strong, flat color, so that every shape is enlivened by a white ``halo'' inside its outline. In the pictures, Olivia plays with a toy farm (from which her fantasies take shape) and owns a copy of an earlier book Kvasnosky illustrated, Florence Page Jaques's There Once Was a Puffin (1995). (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-525-45497-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1997

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Simple, nicely drawn, and a friendly toast to the imagination.

THE RED BOOK

A charming wordless tale about a magical red book and two unnamed children.

One child (quietly androgynous though called a girl by the flap copy) finds a red book lying in the city snow. She brings it to school and opens it to find a map of a warm island somewhere far away. Through a series of frames, the picture zooms in to show her a child on that island, also finding a red book (buried in the sand) and viewing the first child’s snowy city. Now his pictures zoom in and he finds her looking at him in the book and then out through the classroom window. They can see each other! After school, a purchase of many balloons carries the city child off to the island to meet her new friend who sees that she’s left the city and then, there she is—as seen in her book lying on the city sidewalk where she’s dropped it. As it closes, a new city child, who will presumably have an adventure too, picks it up.

Simple, nicely drawn, and a friendly toast to the imagination. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2004

ISBN: 978-0-618-42858-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2004

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A simple but important lesson about anxiety that will speak to young worrywarts everywhere.

THERE'S A UNICORN IN YOUR BOOK

From the Who's in Your Book? series

A troubled little unicorn needs serious help.

There are “worry gremlins” all around threatening his peace of mind. Kids will feel engaged and empowered as they follow the directions to get these gremlins out of the picture. Young readers are told to “wiggle your fingers to make some magic dust,” tickle the unicorn, tell him a joke, and shake the book. None of these tactics quite do the trick, since the gremlins keep coming back and Unicorn’s horn gets stuck in the page. A gentler shake frees the horn, and the text offers another solution, one that kids can take to heart—“The best way to get rid of a worry is to tell someone about it.” Luckily, Unicorn’s friend Monster, an innocuous blue being with tiny pink horns, is there for Unicorn to whisper his worries to. Readers are also urged to whisper something encouraging to Unicorn, who thereafter feels much better. Fears allayed, he and his friends indulge in an exuberant celebration. Kids can join in as they happily sing together against a double-page spread of stars, rays of light, fairies, and disappearing gremlins. The digital illustrations are humorous, and varying typefaces and energetic page reveals add to the fun. This entry in the Who’s in Your Book? series follows the same pattern as the others and includes characters from the previous books.

A simple but important lesson about anxiety that will speak to young worrywarts everywhere. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-43476-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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