Toddlers and preschoolers will use these pretend ideas as a springboard to all sorts of adventures of their own conjuring.

BEST FRIENDS PRETEND

This cheerful celebration of imagination introduces two little girls—the best of friends—who like nothing better than to pretend.

Each double-page spread features a different pretend scenario; the girls make believe they are ice cream–truck operators, princesses, superheroes, astronauts, explorers and finally, grown-ups. The pink, glittery cover depicts the girls in their princess finery, a choice that might lead readers to expect nothing but stereotypical ball gowns, dancing and tea parties in the pages that follow, yet most of the imaginary scenarios involve the girls’ performing active, gender-neutral or even traditionally masculine roles such as hunting scary monsters, flying through space and navigating a jungle river. In the end, when the girls play “grown-ups,” they see themselves as mothers who work outside the home and continue to value their relationship with each other: “Purses, cell phones, / high heels, too… / We’re busy moms / with lots to do. // We’ll go to work. / You’ll live next door! / And we’ll be friends / forevermore!” The rhyming verses scan well, and the appealing illustrations create a distinctive universe for each scenario, helping to bring each one to life.

Toddlers and preschoolers will use these pretend ideas as a springboard to all sorts of adventures of their own conjuring. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 28, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-45171-0

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance.

PERFECTLY NORMAN

From the Big Bright Feelings series

A boy with wings learns to be himself and inspires others like him to soar, too.

Norman, a “perfectly normal” boy, never dreamed he might grow wings. Afraid of what his parents might say, he hides his new wings under a big, stuffy coat. Although the coat hides his wings from the world, Norman no longer finds joy in bathtime, playing at the park, swimming, or birthday parties. With the gentle encouragement of his parents, who see his sadness, Norman finds the courage to come out of hiding and soar. Percival (The Magic Looking Glass, 2017, etc.) depicts Norman with light skin and dark hair. Black-and-white illustrations show his father with dark skin and hair and his mother as white. The contrast of black-and-white illustrations with splashes of bright color complements the story’s theme. While Norman tries to be “normal,” the world and people around him look black and gray, but his coat stands out in yellow. Birds pop from the page in pink, green, and blue, emphasizing the joy and beauty of flying free. The final spread, full of bright color and multiracial children in flight, sets the mood for Norman’s realization on the last page that there is “no such thing as perfectly normal,” but he can be “perfectly Norman.”

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-785-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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