Adults may feel nostalgia over seasons past—and young readers will be introduced to the enticing lure of autumn and the joys...

BELLA'S FALL COAT

An exuberant girl leaps into the joys of seasonal change with her loving grandmother.

Bella is growing, but she wants things to last forever, such as the crunchy autumn leaves, the geese that fill the sky, and especially her beloved old coat. Whenever Grams kindly mentions the need for a new coat, there’s a “WHOOSH,” “WHIZZ,” or “ZOOM” as the ruddy-complexioned child sprints out the door to play in the natural world. Each trip outside brings delight; each return, the opportunity to bond with Grams. Plourde’s lovely text about the ephemeral nature of objects and seasons—and the lasting love of family—is beautifully realized by Gal’s expressive, digital collage illustrations. Vibrant and spontaneous, they recall Keats and Isadora. Cleverly, she contrasts the cool blue tones of the girl’s outfit against the autumn-colored orange of fall, then flops the contrast as the seasons change. Bella’s joie de vivre emanates from the page, her wavy, often wild, blue-black hair a perfect extension of its vivacious owner. But Gal also captures the tender, quiet moments: Grams asleep under the warm glow of a lamp, the new coat she’s made in her lap, and the loving twosome walking hand in hand under a pink, purple dusky sky.

Adults may feel nostalgia over seasons past—and young readers will be introduced to the enticing lure of autumn and the joys of sharing it with someone they love . (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4847-2697-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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Though it looks like a book for longed-for children, it’s really for their parents.

TO THE MOON AND BACK FOR YOU

A poetic ode to women who became mothers despite the challenges they faced.

Whether navigating the roughest seas, crossing the hottest deserts, or pushing through painful brambles, the mothers in this book know their long, hard journeys were worth the effort. There might have been failure and doubt, but now that it’s all over, they know they’d “do it all over again. For you.” First-person narration expresses in metaphor the extraordinary lengths some mothers will go to achieve their dream of holding a child in their arms. Sentimental and flowery, the text is broad enough to apply to the journeys of many mothers—even though the text is gender neutral, the illustrations clearly center the mother’s experience. At times another figure, often male-presenting, is shown alongside a mother. Soft, jewel-toned illustrations peppered with textures depict families with a variety of skin tones and hair colors/textures. The assortment of mothers shown demonstrates the universality of the message, but it also contributes to the absence of a strong visual throughline. In the concluding author’s note, Serhant shares her personal struggle to conceive her child, which included fertility treatments and IVF. Ultimately, although the sentiment is lovely, the message is too abstract to be understood by children and will be better received and appreciated by parents.

Though it looks like a book for longed-for children, it’s really for their parents. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 24, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-17388-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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