An artistic, nicely illustrated Christmas tale that offers a valuable sentiment.

'TWAS THE NIGHT

A child in a wheelchair helps an injured bird and dreams of flying in this wordless picture book.

Darmonkow’s (The Epic of Gabriel and Jibreel, 2019, etc.) work begins with a few pages of realistic paintings of a glowing city at night. Sparkly Christmas decor dots the scenery. Next, a bespectacled white child using a wheelchair finds an injured bird on the sidewalk. The kid takes the white bird home, tends to its wounds, and provides food and water. With the bandaged bird nestled in bed, the child dreams of flying out the window, using a pair of crutches as wings. High in the sky over the shimmering metropolis, the kid discards the crutches and encounters Santa Claus in his sleigh. Then, the story abruptly ends. Although the author’s intent of showing the power of a child’s imagination is evident, the tale would have benefited from a clearer plot. But Darmonkow’s photograph-like illustrations are emotive. They offer vivid details that kids will recognize and enjoy, such as a Peter Pan painting hanging on the wall in the background of one image. Many elements here are open to interpretation, including the child’s backstory. Still, the overarching, worthy message celebrates the imagination, Christmas wishes, and the importance of treating all creatures with care and kindness.

An artistic, nicely illustrated Christmas tale that offers a valuable sentiment.

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77537-879-2

Page Count: -

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2019

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Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children.

THE NIGHT IS YOURS

On hot summer nights, Amani’s parents permit her to go outside and play in the apartment courtyard, where the breeze is cool and her friends are waiting.

The children jump rope to the sounds of music as it floats through a neighbor’s window, gaze at stars in the night sky, and play hide-and-seek in the moonlight. It is in the moonlight that Amani and her friends are themselves found by the moon, and it illumines the many shades of their skin, which vary from light tan to deep brown. In a world where darkness often evokes ideas of evil or fear, this book is a celebration of things that are dark and beautiful—like a child’s dark skin and the night in which she plays. The lines “Show everyone else how to embrace the night like you. Teach them how to be a night-owning girl like you” are as much an appeal for her to love and appreciate her dark skin as they are the exhortation for Amani to enjoy the night. There is a sense of security that flows throughout this book. The courtyard is safe and homelike. The moon, like an additional parent, seems to be watching the children from the sky. The charming full-bleed illustrations, done in washes of mostly deep blues and greens, make this a wonderful bedtime story.

Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55271-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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