For young readers, the book is like a bath before bed: soothing, comforting, and warm.

READ REVIEW

YOU BELONG TO ME

Cuddly animals snuggle, hug, and protect a small child in a collection of affectionate poses from Japanese author/illustrator Suzuki.

The protagonist has no name, and there’s no plot in what at first feels like another unnecessary entry in the "I Love You So Much" genre. Kangaroos and polar bears and gigantic foxes embrace the kid on successive double-page spreads accompanied by what could be a parent's declarations of devotion. "I could spend all day with you." "I'll hug you when you are sad." "We all love you." Is it a family or a village expressing the love in the text opposite a group hug of 17 critters? And what does it mean when, on the last page, the child is so much larger than what appears to be a joey against the text, "I am so happy when we are together”? Suzuki wisely leaves it open to interpretation, and collectively, the pages, with sweet tableaux that could each be a postcard, begin to take on a powerful simplicity. Rather than descending into a gooey morass of platitudes, the book begins to feel like an artfully constructed haiku, one that might make some parents choke back a tear or two. Suzuki’s thick, soft outlines recall Kevin Henkes’; many spreads appear to eschew black altogether, and all are enticingly smudgy, even the one with a gigantic T. Rex.

For young readers, the book is like a bath before bed: soothing, comforting, and warm. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-940842-12-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Museyon

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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Pair this with Leo Timmers’ Who Is Driving? (2007) for twice the guessing fun.

CLOTHESLINE CLUES TO JOBS PEOPLE DO

From the Clothesline Clues series

Heling and Hembrook’s clever conceit challenges children to analyze a small town’s clotheslines to guess the job each of their owners does. 

Close-up on the clothesline: “Uniform and cap, / an invite for you. / Big bag of letters. / What job does she do?” A turn of the page reveals a macro view of the home, van and the woman doing her job, “She is a mail carrier.” Indeed, she can be spotted throughout the book delivering invitations to all the rest of the characters, who gather at the end for a “Launch Party.” The verses’ rhymes are spot-on, though the rhythm falters a couple of times. The authors nicely mix up the gender stereotypes often associated with several of these occupations, making the carpenter, firefighter and astronaut women. But while Davies keeps uniforms and props pretty neutral (he even avoids U.S. mail symbols), he keeps to the stereotypes that allow young readers to easily identify occupations—the farmer chews on a stalk of wheat; the beret-wearing artist sports a curly mustache. A subdued palette and plain white backgrounds keep kids’ focus on the clothing clues. Still, there are plenty of details to absorb—the cat with arched back that anticipates a spray of water, the firefighter who “lights” the rocket.

Pair this with Leo Timmers’ Who Is Driving? (2007) for twice the guessing fun. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-58089-251-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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