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

READ REVIEW

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. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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Preschool talkers aren’t likely to take the lesson to heart, but their caregivers will certainly find this chuckleworthy.

WORDY BIRDY

To say that this bird is wordy is an understatement; the motor mouth talks so much that she doesn’t listen, even when it’s in her best interests.

The talking starts first thing in the morning, with Wordy Birdy saying hello to each color in the sky at sunrise and to her own reflection in the mirror, but it doesn’t stop there. The loquacious bird talks about things she likes, things she dislikes, things she’s curious about, what she sees, facts she knows, and sometimes stories she embellishes a bit (“This one time, I totally went swimming with a narwhal”). Her friends are all disgruntled expressions and raised eyebrows, but they are loyal nonetheless (readers may not see why, though, as the self-centered bird is not at all likable). When her ceaseless yammering lands Wordy Birdy in danger, they come to her rescue…and even bring about a modest change in her behavior. Friends Squirrel, Rabbit, and Raccoon are the real stars here. Their droll expressions and unsurprised reactions to Wordy Birdy’s indifference to their warnings are laugh-out-loud funny, especially to adults who may be reading this aloud and recognize some familiar behavior. Mottram’s seemingly digital illustrations have an Over the Hedge aesthetic, and the dialogue balloons that crowd the spreads emphasize just how much talking Wordy Birdy does.

Preschool talkers aren’t likely to take the lesson to heart, but their caregivers will certainly find this chuckleworthy. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-1929-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Oct. 30, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2017

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A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught...

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A PROBLEM?

A child struggles with the worry and anxiety that come with an unexpected problem.

In a wonderful balance of text and pictures, the team responsible for What Do You Do With an Idea (2014) returns with another book inspiring children to feel good about themselves. A child frets about a problem that won’t go away: “I wished it would just disappear. I tried everything I could to hide from it. I even found ways to disguise myself. But it still found me.” The spare, direct narrative is accompanied by soft gray illustrations in pencil and watercolor. The sepia-toned figure of the child is set apart from the background and surrounded by lots of white space, visually isolating the problem, which is depicted as a purple storm cloud looming overhead. Color is added bit by bit as the storm cloud grows and its color becomes more saturated. With a backpack and umbrella, the child tries to escape the problem while the storm swirls, awash with compass points scattered across the pages. The pages brighten into splashes of yellow as the child decides to tackle the problem head-on and finds that it holds promise for unlooked-for opportunity.

A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught situations, this belongs on the shelf alongside Molly Bang’s Sophie books. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-943-20000-9

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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