A read that affirms reading.

READ REVIEW

JUST READ!

Apparently, there are many ways to read.

Degman’s first-person text opens with an exultant declaration—“HOORAY! I know how to read on my own!”—but an accompanying, vibrant illustration doesn’t indicate which of the seven diverse children in a book-filled room is the speaker. This question isn’t resolved as the narrative proceeds, “But sometimes I don’t want to do it alone. So… / I read with an astronaut, pirate, or farmer. I read with a clown or a knight wearing armor.” It’s rather confusing that the depicted reading children are reading alone while imagining the astronaut, pirate, farmer, clown, and knight floating above them. Tentler-Krylov’s splashy, stylish, bright watercolors show children reading different sorts of texts in various contexts—road signs, maps, magazines, sheet music, and Braille books. The spread depicting Braille reads, “I read with my fingers across bumpy lines”; across the gutter one child signs to another: “I read with my voice or my hands using signs.” This last line seems a bit off as it positions oral and signed language as texts to be read, but the aim is clearly inclusive. The book culminates in an idyllic scene of children reading in a tree that begs to become a literacy campaign poster. As with many books about reading, it’s not much of a story, but it does mean well.

A read that affirms reading. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2572-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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RAIN SCHOOL

It takes a village to make a school. In Chad, big brothers and sisters lead the way for younger children on the first day of school. Little Thomas is full of questions. When he and the other children arrive, there are no classrooms and no desks. But the teacher's there, holding a trowel. "We will build our school," she declares. Everyone sets to work, making mud bricks that dry in the sun and a roof out of grass and saplings. Thomas loves his lessons; every day he learns something new. At the end of the school year, the minds of the students "are fat with knowledge." And just in time: The rainy season arrives and makes short work of the schoolhouse. Come September, they'll start all over. Rumford's illustrations make great use of color, dark brown skin and bright shirts, shorts and dresses against golden backgrounds, the hues applied in smudgy layers that infuse each scene with warmth—until the gray rains arrive. It's a nifty social-studies lesson tucked into a warm tale of community. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-547-24307-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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