This sentimental story of a return voyage carries an important message—let's all take care of one another.

I'LL CATCH YOU IF YOU FALL

A little boy on a perilous adventure at sea needs someone to see him safely home.

The first double-page spread introduces a little boy in a yellow slicker and sou’wester, leaning precariously from a boat and dragging a net through the water. The charming, digitally rendered illustrations feature a lighthouse in the distance and a welcoming harbor with a dog keeping watch on the water. Large black text undulates like a wave across the page, asking: “Who will keep the boy safe?” With a turn of the page, his mother answers: “I will….I will hold him close…and never let him lean too far.” But who will keep them both safe? The boat’s captain will. And who will keep the boat safe? A star will guide it through a storm and safely back to harbor. Finally, the questions come to rest in a way that gently empowers the boy at the heart of the story and recalls its opening scene. Who will keep the star safe? “I will,” says the little boy, now holding his red net out his window: “I will lean out my window, but not too far… / and catch you if you fall." Marlow’s illustrations reveal a quaint, North Atlantic coastal setting; all characters are white, and both the boat’s captain and the little boy (under his slicker) sport cozy fisherman-knit sweaters.

This sentimental story of a return voyage carries an important message—let's all take care of one another. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5206-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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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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