An accessible introduction to the rights of children and social responsibility.

ONE TOO MANY

Debut author Smith and illustrator Ojala (Eggs, 2014, etc.) highlight the needs of children that are being unmet.

Smith introduces the problems of children without homes, food, or water; who face abuse and abandonment; and who are denied access to good hygiene, medical care, and education. In each case, the author repeats, “As long as there’s one” child with that problem, “there’s one too many.” These are scary ideas for young readers, but Ojala’s images make them more approachable. While sad and serious, they have the effect of reducing feelings of tension and fear; in the image of abuse, for example, a girl faces only a looming shadow, and throughout, soft, white outlines provide hints of solutions (a home, a friend, and so on). After one child helps a homeless boy find a home, those two kids provide spare clothing and resources for another girl. With each solution, the number of children grows, until finally, nine are solving problems as a team. Although the issues are all solved rather quickly, the concept of taking on one problem at a time will encourage young readers that they can make a difference. Ojala’s character depictions are quite diverse, showing that children of all ethnicities face challenges.

An accessible introduction to the rights of children and social responsibility.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0-9921516-7-6

Page Count: 41

Publisher: Peppermint Toast Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS

With the same delightfully irreverent spirit that he brought to his retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" (1987), Marshall enlivens another favorite. Although completely retold with his usual pungent wit and contemporary touches ("I don't mind if I do," says Goldilocks, as she tries out porridge, chair, and bed), Marshall retains the stories well-loved pattern, including Goldilocks escaping through the window (whereupon Baby Bear inquires, "Who was that little girl?"). The illustrations are fraught with delicious humor and detail: books that are stacked everywhere around the rather cluttered house, including some used in lieu of a missing leg for Papa Bear's chair; comically exaggerated beds—much too high at the head and the foot; and Baby Bear's wonderfully messy room, which certainly brings the story into the 20th century. Like its predecessor, perfect for several uses, from picture-book hour to beginning reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1988

ISBN: 0140563660

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1988

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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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