This awesome, visually rich story will captivate adults who once played outside until the street lights came on as well as...

DUSK EXPLORERS

Few 21st-century kids know the joys of romping outside all day, but this book encourages readers to try it.

In this lushly illustrated picture book, the kids in this neighborhood stay in perpetual motion. They play games, ride bikes or scooters, climb trees, roll down grassy hills, and catch frogs, clearly enjoying the outdoors and one another. Twilight settles over their suburban neighborhood as they catch fireflies and splash in a shallow stream, ignoring calls to come home. Ending with an invitation to all dusk explorers, this book persuasively advocates for unplugged, tech-free days, beckoning readers to get outside and play, play, play. The book’s color palette gradually shifts from yellows and greens to blues and purples, with the moon and stars illuminating the final scene. Insects and animals, both domesticated and wild, appear in many scenes. Notably, most of the characters in the illustrations are children of color, with a beautiful array of skin tones, facial features, and hair textures. This message that the outdoors is for everyone from every background will resonate in an era when organizations like Outdoor Afro are encouraging more families of color to get out and experience nature.

This awesome, visually rich story will captivate adults who once played outside until the street lights came on as well as their kids, who will now want to. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62414-871-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Page Street

Review Posted Online: Feb. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

CARPENTER'S HELPER

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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WOO-HOO! This is the perfect way to foster healthy self-esteem in little ones.

WOO HOO! YOU'RE DOING GREAT!

What’s better than a cheerleading chicken?

Are you ever blue, unsure, tired, or overworked? Do you ever feel lost or overwhelmed? This uplifting book, expressed in delightful, jaunty verse, explains how to lift your spirits pronto: What you need is a booster chicken telling you’re doing great even when you’re not so confident, as when you’re learning or practicing a new skill, for instance. Your feathered champion will be right there, encouraging you all the way, with a loud “WOO HOO!” that’ll keep you going and remove any doubt you’re super terrific. But what if your cheerful chick errs and doesn’t do what it set out to do? Don’t worry—your cheery chicken just needs a reminder that everyone makes mistakes. That alone is a pep talk, enhanced by the wisdom that making mistakes allows everyone to learn and demonstrate they did their best. So forgive yourself, chickens! But the best thing is…instead of relying on someone else—like a chicken—to strengthen your ego, say a generous daily “WOO HOO!” to yourself. This riotous book hits all the right notes and does so succinctly and hilariously. The energetic, comical illustrations, in Boynton’s signature style, will elicit giggles and go far to make the book’s important point. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

WOO-HOO! This is the perfect way to foster healthy self-esteem in little ones. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 4, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-316-48679-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2023

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