This sweet, humorous story respects and encourages children’s emotional intelligence.

THE UMBRELLA

When he realizes a little rain cloud is following him around, Sebastian responds by carrying an umbrella everywhere.

Sebastian is inside his home when he notices the cloud. He finds a large, red umbrella to carry around to protect himself from rain. The umbrella covers his head and shoulders completely and so keeps him dry, but it also keeps him from playing games, meeting new friends, talking to people, or even seeing the sky. One day, while playing kick-the-acorn in the park, Sebastian encounters a girl lying in the grass reading a book. She invites him to see a comet, but he says he can’t because of his umbrella. She asks why he is carrying an umbrella when it’s a sunny day with not a cloud in the sky—and indeed, even his little gray cloud has disappeared. Sebastian can finally put his umbrella away and look at the sky with a new friend. The book’s opening holds potential for both humor and profundity, and whichever line pulls the reader in will not disappoint. Curiosity and suspense propel the narrative, and the sudden change in circumstance invites readers to consider what roles feelings and relationships play in Sebastian’s environment. Crisp, simple illustrations show Sebastian, who is White (as is his new friend), in a variety of settings, with compositions that highlight key moments in his journey.

This sweet, humorous story respects and encourages children’s emotional intelligence. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-772290-52-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simply Read Books

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

As insubstantial as hot air.

THE WORLD NEEDS WHO YOU WERE MADE TO BE

A diverse cast of children first makes a fleet of hot air balloons and then takes to the sky in them.

Lifestyle maven Gaines uses this activity as a platform to celebrate diversity in learning and working styles. Some people like to work together; others prefer a solo process. Some take pains to plan extensively; others know exactly what they want and jump right in. Some apply science; others demonstrate artistic prowess. But “see how beautiful it can be when / our differences share the same sky?” Double-page spreads leading up to this moment of liftoff are laid out such that rhyming abcb quatrains typically contain one or two opposing concepts: “Some of us are teachers / and share what we know. / But all of us are learners. / Together is how we grow!” In the accompanying illustration, a bespectacled, Asian-presenting child at a blackboard lectures the other children on “balloon safety.” Gaines’ text has the ring of sincerity, but the sentiment is hardly an original one, and her verse frequently sacrifices scansion for rhyme. Sometimes it abandons both: “We may not look / or work or think the same, / but we all have an / important part to play.” Swaney’s delicate, pastel-hued illustrations do little to expand on the text, but they are pretty. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11.2-by-18.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 70.7% of actual size.)

As insubstantial as hot air. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4003-1423-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tommy Nelson

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.

WHY A DAUGHTER NEEDS A MOM

All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more