An upbeat esteem booster and discussion starter.

KIMMY'S MARVELOUS WIND-CATCHING WONDER

The eponymous wonder is a rather mundane paper kite, created and eventually flown by Kimmy, a young brown-skinned girl with two long, black braids.

Although Kimmy’s diverse group of classmates insists that her homemade kite won’t fly, the little girl is persistent. When it won’t fly indoors, she hopes that it will soar when they go outside. Although anxious for a moment, she gets encouragement from the teacher, Miss Pam (also brown-skinned), and runs through the schoolyard. “And what do you think? / Her very own kite—that marvelous wind-catching wonder—flapped and fluttered… / …and flew!” Of course, after the successful flight, the other kids crowd around, and everyone wants to fly the kite covered in crayon drawings and with red, yellow, and blue tissue-paper streamers. Kimmy is a little taken aback. She responds: “You didn’t like it before.” But after thinking over the situation, she comes up with a great solution. The imaginative little girl shows everyone how to make “their very own kites.” The paintings, especially the faces, have a blandly cartoonish look, but the pictures are full of action, especially Kimmy with her flying black braids. A double-page spread with three rectangular boxes showing the kite getting off the ground is quite lovely. The afterword for adults about gumption, decision-making, and leadership seems overdone, but it may be useful for some. Notably absent are instructions for making kites.

An upbeat esteem booster and discussion starter. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-60554-436-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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A straightforward tale of conflict and reconciliation for newly emergent readers? Not exactly, which raises it above the...

ROBOT, GO BOT!

In this deceptively spare, very beginning reader, a girl assembles a robot and then treats it like a slave until it goes on strike.

Having put the robot together from a jumble of loose parts, the budding engineer issues an increasingly peremptory series of rhymed orders— “Throw, Bot. / Row, Bot”—that turn from playful activities like chasing bubbles in the yard to tasks like hoeing the garden, mowing the lawn and towing her around in a wagon. Jung crafts a robot with riveted edges, big googly eyes and a smile that turns down in stages to a scowl as the work is piled on. At last, the exhausted robot plops itself down, then in response to its tormentor’s angry “Don’t say no, Bot!” stomps off in a huff. In one to four spacious, sequential panels per spread, Jung develops both the plotline and the emotional conflict using smoothly modeled cartoon figures against monochromatic or minimally detailed backgrounds. The child’s commands, confined in small dialogue balloons, are rhymed until her repentant “Come on home, Bot” breaks the pattern but leads to a more equitable division of labor at the end.

A straightforward tale of conflict and reconciliation for newly emergent readers? Not exactly, which raises it above the rest. (Easy reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 25, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-87083-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history.

THE SCARECROW

Ferry and the Fans portray a popular seasonal character’s unlikely friendship.

Initially, the protagonist is shown in his solitary world: “Scarecrow stands alone and scares / the fox and deer, / the mice and crows. / It’s all he does. It’s all he knows.” His presence is effective; the animals stay outside the fenced-in fields, but the omniscient narrator laments the character’s lack of friends or places to go. Everything changes when a baby crow falls nearby. Breaking his pole so he can bend, the scarecrow picks it up, placing the creature in the bib of his overalls while singing a lullaby. Both abandon natural tendencies until the crow learns to fly—and thus departs. The aabb rhyme scheme flows reasonably well, propelling the narrative through fall, winter, and spring, when the mature crow returns with a mate to build a nest in the overalls bib that once was his home. The Fan brothers capture the emotional tenor of the seasons and the main character in their panoramic pencil, ballpoint, and digital compositions. Particularly poignant is the close-up of the scarecrow’s burlap face, his stitched mouth and leaf-rimmed head conveying such sadness after his companion goes. Some adults may wonder why the scarecrow seems to have only partial agency, but children will be tuned into the problem, gratified by the resolution.

A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-247576-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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