Moving house can be fun and not scary with the right attitude.

GOODBYE, OLD HOUSE

A young child visits their old haunts for the last time with affection and greets their new home with enthusiasm.

Tousle-headed and lively, the child runs through the landscape of their old home, naming all the activities they will never do again in this place: fishing in the river, running through the trees, petting the pony, swinging on the gate, eating at the table, dreaming by the fire. They stand at the open door, looking wistfully out at the familiar scenery, then bounce from room to room, saying goodbye to each one in turn. They even change the writing on their bedroom wall to the past tense: It now reads “Sam lived here.” The process is reversed as they travel to their new home and explore all the activities in the new place: pushing open the gate, climbing a tree, petting a new cat, and saying “Hello” to the new rooms. They add an inscription on the bedroom wall: “Sam lives here now.” The visual treatment is striking: Loose black-and-white cutout sketches of the child (whose skin is, therefore, paper-white) are collaged over soft, muted, almost abstract landscapes. The effect is pleasing, but there is little detail for a child to pore over. In spite of the paucity of detail, this would serve well to soothe a child anxious about a potentially traumatic experience.

Moving house can be fun and not scary with the right attitude. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-73622-645-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Blue Dot Kids Press

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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Exciting artwork paired with disappointingly dull text.

KINDNESS GROWS

Rhyming verses about kindness using a consistent metaphor of widening cracks versus blooming plants are amplified by cutouts on each page.

The art and layout are spectacular, from the cover through the double-page spreads near the end. Racially diverse toddlers are shown engaging in various moods and behaviors, some of which create unhappiness and some of which lead to friendship and happiness. Every page’s color palette and composition perfectly complement the narrative. The initial verso shows two children in aggressive stances, backgrounded by a dark, partly moonlit sky. Between them is a slender, crooked cutout. The large-type text reads: “It all / starts / with a / crack / that we can hardly see. / It happens when we shout / or if we disagree.” The recto shows two children in sunlight, with one offering a pretty leaf to the other, and the rhyme addresses the good that grows from kindness. In this image, the crooked die cut forms the trunk of a tiny sapling. Until the final double-page spreads, the art follows this clever setup: dark deeds and a crack on the left, and good deeds and a growing tree on the right. Unfortunately, the text is far from the equal of the art: It is banal and preachy, and it does not even scan well without some effort on the part of whomever is reading it. Still, the youngest children will solemnly agree with the do’s and don’ts, and they may decide to memorize a page or two.

Exciting artwork paired with disappointingly dull text. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68010-229-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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