A treat for the eye, ear, and heart.

GOODNIGHT SONGS

A CELEBRATION OF THE SEASONS

A multimedia tribute to the great picture-book writer in her own words.

This sumptuous compilation not only brings together a dozen songs by the late author of Goodnight Moon, here given new visual life in evocative spreads by 12 award-winning illustrators, but also includes a CD of Brown’s lyrics set to music and performed by Tom Proutt and Emily Gary. As a whole, these nature-based songs look to animals and the seasons to remind children of the pleasures of the outdoors. Illustrators Peter Brown, Floyd Cooper, Blanca Gómez, Satoe Tone, and eight others capture the essence of bees and birds in flight, leaves adrift on the wind, or light, imagined situations like a kitten’s dream or a cat the size of a pussy willow. Musically, a number of the songs, such as the magical “Snowfall,” have a soft, lilting quality sure to help young listeners off to dreamland, while a couple of the more memorable settings might have the opposite effect. The sharp baritone-sax honks of “Buzz, Buzz, Buzz” graphically emulate bees at work “in the solemn heat,” for instance. While the collection is no doubt titled to evoke its author’s most renowned work, overall these songs prove anything but drowsy.

A treat for the eye, ear, and heart. (Picture book/poetry. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4549-0447-2

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2015

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A visual feast teeming with life.

HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A FLOWER?

A young urbanite romps through floral fields and deep into a flower’s anatomy, exploring humanity’s connection to nature.

A solo car travels away from the dense, gray cityscape. Mountains rise up, full of pattern and light, before revealing a fluorescent field of flowers. A child bursts from the car across the page, neon-rainbow hair streaming in the wind, as both child and place radiate joy and life. The brown-skinned, blue-eyed youngster breathes in the meadow and begins an adventure—part Jamberry, part “Thumbelina,” and part existential journey as the child realizes the life force running through the veins of the flower is the same that runs through all of us, from the water that sustains to the sun that grows. Harris’ colored-pencil illustrations are full of energy and spontaneity. His use of patterning and graphic symbology evoke Oaxacan design, yet the style is all his own. The text is equally enthusiastic: “Have you ever seen / a flower so deep / you had to shout / HELLO / and listen for an echo / just to know / how deep it goes?” The text shifts abruptly from metaphor to metaphor, in one spread the flower likened to a palace and a few pages later, to human anatomy. Nevertheless, like the protagonist and the natural environment, readers will feel themselves stretch and bloom.

A visual feast teeming with life. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4521-8270-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it.

THE OLD BOAT

A multigenerational tale of a boat’s life with a Black family, written by two brothers who loved similar boats.

In the opening spread, a smiling, brown-skinned adult dangles a line from the back of a green-and-white boat while a boy peers eagerly over the side at the sea life. The text never describes years passing, but each page turn reveals the boy’s aging, more urban development on the shore, increasing water pollution, marine-life changes (sea jellies abound on one page), and shifting water levels. Eventually, the boy, now a teenager, steers the boat, and as an adult, he fishes alone but must go farther and farther out to sea to make his catch. One day, the man loses his way, capsizes in a storm, and washes up on a small bay island, with the overturned, sunken boat just offshore. Now a “new sailor” cleans up the land and water with others’ help. The physical similarities between the shipwrecked sailor and the “new sailor” suggest that this is not a new person but one whose near-death experience has led to an epiphany that changes his relationship to water. As the decaying boat becomes a new marine habitat, the sailor teaches the next generation (a child with hair in two Afro puffs) to fish. Focusing primarily on the sea, the book’s earth-toned illustrations, created with hundreds of stamps, carry the compelling plot.

A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-324-00517-9

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Norton Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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