Cheerful and informative, this is a splendid introduction for humans of all shapes and sizes to share.

THE GREAT BIG BODY BOOK

From the Great Big Book series , Vol. 4

What is a body?

In the pattern of their earlier books about families and feelings, this experienced team turns its attention to human bodies. As might be expected, their lively survey is notable for its inclusivity. Spread by spread, they introduce their young audience to the bodies of babies, toddlers, teens, pregnant women, and the elderly; to body parts; to fitness, health, and injuries; to senses; to families; to growth, aging, and death; and to a vast range of possibilities. Under the heading “Boy or Girl?” they remind readers that while gender is the first thing people want to know about new babies, “not everyone fits neatly into a ‘boy’ or ‘girl’ box.” Over and over, both text and pictures demonstrate that bodies are both similar and different, that they develop at differing rates, and that they don’t all work in quite the same way. Asquith’s appealing cartoons fill the pages with diverse examples: vignettes of children and adults in an astonishing variety of perfectly believable shapes, sizes, skin tones, moods, clothing (yes, some headscarves), activities, and degrees of mobility. The armless child drawing with a pencil in her mouth is especially memorable. The thought balloons of a cat that wanders through the pages contrast the human and feline worlds.

Cheerful and informative, this is a splendid introduction for humans of all shapes and sizes to share. (Informational picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-84780-872-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2016

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Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life.

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BE YOU!

An inspirational picture book offers life advice for readers who want to be themselves.

Replete with sparkling, often quirky illustrations of children living their best lives, this book is a gorgeous guidebook for those seeking encouragement while encountering life’s challenges. The children featured—a racially diverse group ranging from infants to preschoolers—cheerfully navigate the various injunctions that flow through the text: “Be curious.…Be adventurous.…Be persistent.…Be kind.” What is remarkable about the book is that even though the instructions and the brief sentences explaining them are at times vague, the illustrations expand on them in ways readers will find endearing and uplifting. Those depicting painful or challenging moments are especially effective. The “Be persistent” double-page spread shows a child in a boat on stormy seas; it’s rich with deep blues as it emphasizes the energy of wind and rain and struggle in the face of challenge. Together with the accompanying repeated phrase “Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop,” this spread arrests readers. By contrast, the “Be kind. Be understanding” spread simply presents two children’s faces, one cast in blue and the other in gold, but the empathy that Reynolds conveys is similarly captivating. While there is no plot to pull readers through the pages, the book provides rich fodder for caregivers to use as teachable moments, both informally and in classroom settings.

Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-57231-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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A comical, fresh look at crayons and color

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THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT

Duncan wants to draw, but instead of crayons, he finds a stack of letters listing the crayons’ demands in this humorous tale.

Red is overworked, laboring even on holidays. Gray is exhausted from coloring expansive spaces (elephants, rhinos and whales). Black wants to be considered a color-in color, and Peach? He’s naked without his wrapper! This anthropomorphized lot amicably requests workplace changes in hand-lettered writing, explaining their work stoppage to a surprised Duncan. Some are tired, others underutilized, while a few want official titles. With a little creativity and a lot of color, Duncan saves the day. Jeffers delivers energetic and playful illustrations, done in pencil, paint and crayon. The drawings are loose and lively, and with few lines, he makes his characters effectively emote. Clever spreads, such as Duncan’s “white cat in the snow” perfectly capture the crayons’ conundrum, and photographic representations of both the letters and coloring pages offer another layer of texture, lending to the tale’s overall believability.

A comical, fresh look at crayons and color . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-25537-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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