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YOU READ TO ME, I’LL READ TO YOU

VERY SHORT SCARY TALES TO READ TOGETHER

Hoberman and Emberley return with their fourth collaboration of short read-aloud stories in verse, this time a baker’s dozen of goofy-scary original ones. The author’s note (aimed at adults) and the introductory poem (aimed at readers, with illustrations of two youngsters in monster masks) proffer the book’s premise: These stories, ideal for reading aloud, use spooky settings to express the joys of reading. Each poem spans two facing pages and, at 9”x12”, the book is large enough to accommodate multiple small illustrations that retell each story pictorially. Subjects cover Halloween mainstays like “The Skeleton,” “Trick or Treat” and “The Witch and the Broomstick,” as well as a variety of other eerie entities. In “The Mummy,” for example, two children in miners helmets gleefully unwrap a figure in a coffin, and get a surprise. A boy on a bicycle helps “The Ghoul” learn to read. Text throughout comes in multiple pastel shades, nicely matching Emberley’s impish illustrations, in pencil, watercolor and pastels. Nifty. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01733-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Megan Tingley/Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2007

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A LIBRARY

A lushly illustrated homage to librarians who provide a welcome and a home away from home for all who enter.

A love letter to libraries.

A Black child, with hair in two puffballs tied with yellow ribbons, a blue dress with a Peter Pan collar, and black patent leather Mary Janes, helps Grandmother with the housework, then, at Grandmother’s suggestion, heads to the library. The child’s eagerness to go, with two books under an arm and one in their hand, suggests that this is a favorite destination. The books’ wordless covers emphasize their endless possibilities. The protagonist’s description of the library makes clear that they are always free to be themselves there—whether they feel happy or sad, whether they’re reading mysteries or recipes, and whether they feel “quick and smart” or “contained and cautious.” Robinson’s vibrant, carefully composed digital illustrations, with bright colors that invite readers in and textures and patterns in every image, effectively capture the protagonist’s passion for reading and appreciation for a space where they feel accepted regardless of disposition. In her author’s note, Giovanni states that she spent summers visiting her grandmother in Knoxville, Tennessee, where she went to the Carnegie Branch of the Lawson McGhee Library. She expresses gratitude for Mrs. Long, the librarian, who often traveled to the main library to get books that Giovanni could not find in their segregated branch. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A lushly illustrated homage to librarians who provide a welcome and a home away from home for all who enter. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-358-38765-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Versify/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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DIGGER, DOZER, DUMPER

While there are many rhyming truck books out there, this stands out for being a collection of poems.

Rhyming poems introduce children to anthropomorphized trucks of all sorts, as well as the jobs that they do.

Adorable multiethnic children are the drivers of these 16 trucks—from construction equipment to city trucks, rescue vehicles and a semi—easily standing in for readers, a point made very clear on the final spread. Varying rhyme schemes and poem lengths help keep readers’ attention. For the most part, the rhymes and rhythms work, as in this, from “Cement Mixer”: “No time to wait; / he can’t sit still. / He has to beg your pardon. / For if he dawdles on the way, / his slushy load will harden.” Slonim’s trucks each sport an expressive pair of eyes, but the anthropomorphism stops there, at least in the pictures—Vestergaard sometimes takes it too far, as in “Bulldozer”: “He’s not a bully, either, / although he’s big and tough. / He waits his turn, plays well with friends, / and pushes just enough.” A few trucks’ jobs get short shrift, to mixed effect: “Skid-Steer Loader” focuses on how this truck moves without the typical steering wheel, but “Semi” runs with a royalty analogy and fails to truly impart any knowledge. The acrylic-and-charcoal artwork, set against white backgrounds, keeps the focus on the trucks and the jobs they are doing.

While there are many rhyming truck books out there, this stands out for being a collection of poems. (Picture book/poetry. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5078-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

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