MAPLE

From the Maple series

An arboreal homage perfect for children reveling in alone time or reeling with a new sibling’s arrival.

A little girl and a tree grow up together in this sweet debut.

Maple, named for a sapling planted just before her birth, plays alongside her special tree every day, giving it hugs and watching its foliage flutter. Her free-spirited, bracing sessions of solitary, outdoor fun appear as crisp vignettes on white backgrounds, their sequencing marking the marching passage of time, which stops for moments of reflection. A long, grassy double-page spread appears at spring, showing Maple bent knees to nose over dolls, directing a miniaturized theater production under the tree’s canopy. Here’s a child’s world, where page borders crop out parents’ faces and private reverie recurs as an all-consuming pastime, transmuted by Nichols through charmingly plain pencil illustrations and mild digital colors. Maple, sweetly nondescript with her round head, low braids, comfortable dresses and pink cheeks, could easily sit next to any young reader at preschool or day care. Leaf rubbings (from real maple leaves!) dazzle with their sudden crinkles, veins and tart greens and orangy yellows. Another small tree, right next to Maple’s, marks the birth of a new sibling (Willow), who soon joins her sister under dancing leaves in this kid’s kingdom.

An arboreal homage perfect for children reveling in alone time or reeling with a new sibling’s arrival. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 20, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-16085-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 30, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2013

THERE'S A ROCK CONCERT IN MY BEDROOM

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

LOTS OF LOVE LITTLE ONE

FOREVER AND ALWAYS

So sweet it’ll have readers heading for their toothbrushes.

Another entry in the how-much-I-love-you genre.

The opening spread shows a blue elephant-and-child pair, the child atop the adult, white hearts arcing between their uplifted trunks: “You’re a gift and a blessing in every way. / I love you more each and every day.” From there, the adult elephant goes on to tell the child how they are loved more than all sorts of things, some rhyming better than others: “I love you more than all the spaghetti served in Rome, // and more than each and every dog loves her bone.” More than stars, fireflies, “all the languages spoken in the world,” “all the dancers that have ever twirled,” all the kisses ever given and miles ever driven, “all the adventures you have ahead,” and “all the peanut butter and jelly spread on bread!” Representative of all the world’s languages are “I love you” in several languages (with no pronunciation help): English, Sioux, French, German, Swahili, Spanish, Hawaiian, Chinese, and Arabic (these two last in Roman characters only). Bold colors and simple illustrations with no distracting details keep readers’ focus on the main ideas. Dashed lines give the artwork (and at least one word on every spread) the look of 2-D sewn toys.

So sweet it’ll have readers heading for their toothbrushes. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4926-8398-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Sept. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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