This simple, informative photo essay realistically portrays children’s experiences of schooling around the world.

READ REVIEW

BACK TO SCHOOL

A GLOBAL JOURNEY

Across the globe, schools and the children that attend them are similar and different in so many ways.

Organized by simple statements regarding what, where, and how children study, the book offers photos featuring a wide range of children, from Indigenous children in Brazil to children of multiple races in the United States. Although the pictures and their clear, informative captions are grouped according to commonalities, they also accurately represent how class, culture, and faith influence everything from school uniforms to what it means to be a good citizen. The final pages contain longer, more detailed text that caregivers can use to supplement the facts that are already presented in the book. The book’s illustrations are carefully curated to represent a wide range of regions, faiths, and skin colors, all within an age range that seems to be middle elementary. Laudably, the children pictured in the photos span economic strata as well as geography: The book shows children of different class levels studying in the global south as well as more developed countries. It is refreshing to see images of students studying in a night school in India and a UNESCO–funded school in Rwanada juxtaposed with photographs of what appear to be private school students in India and South Africa. This edition updates a 2001 volume of the same name with a preponderance of new photos, a colorful design, lightly massaged text, and an expanded trim size.

This simple, informative photo essay realistically portrays children’s experiences of schooling around the world. (Informational picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-58089-837-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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The many enchanting elements of dance and story in The Sleeping Beauty ballet come alive for young children.

BALLET SCHOOL

Read! Practice! Perform!

Three girls (Amirah, Violet, and Sahani) and two boys (Joonwon and Alejandro) take ballet class. They clearly demonstrate warm-up moves, basic feet and arm positions executed at the barre, and center-floor movements including jumps. Their facial expressions vary from happy to fretful. When they have performed their “reverence,” or bows, they are ready to move on to a performance of The Sleeping Beauty, a popular story ballet danced to a beautiful score by Tchaikovsky. Violet’s mom, a former dancer, enters to tell the children the story, and they act out the various roles, from the elegant Lilac Fairy to the evil Carabosse. Each role involves steps that they previously learned and very expressive facial and body emoting. Bouder is a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet and writes with enthusiasm and knowledge. The uncluttered cartoon illustrations are lively and colorfully detailed, depicting a multiracial cast (as hinted at by the children’s names). That Violet and her ex-professional mom are white somewhat undermines the egalitarian message. While it may prove challenging for readers to actually try the steps on their own, especially the jumps, they should enjoy practicing. When readers play the score (not included but readily available) in the background, correct ballet movement or simply expressive individual movements can result in a very enjoyable staging.

The many enchanting elements of dance and story in The Sleeping Beauty ballet come alive for young children. (glossary) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: yesterday

ISBN: 978-0-7112-5128-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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Animals, action, and accurate information—packaged for kids. A winner.

YOGA ANIMALS

A WILD INTRODUCTION TO KID-FRIENDLY POSES

Uncluttered design and clear instructions mark this kid-friendly introduction to nine basic yoga poses.

Each double-page spread pairs National Geographic photos with a rhyming two-line verse, with action words set in display type. The high-quality photos are set within circles of bright contrasting colors. On the right-hand side of each spread, a child on a yoga mat (this photo outlined by an original mandala design) demonstrates a yoga pose inspired by the animal: “CURL like a cat! / STRETCH like a puppy! / ROAR like a lion! / TUCK like a bunny!” Four to six lines of instructional text in a smaller but still clear font guides readers into the posture and includes suggestions about when to breathe and how often to repeat the action or sustain the pose. A conversational foreword by yoga teacher Tara Stiles encourages children to “go with the flow” when trying the movements. Towler’s verses, including an introductory and closing stanza, speak directly to children’s interests: “Playful puppies run and fetch, / tumble, tussle, stop, and stretch.” Four pages of backmatter repeat on a smaller scale the photos of the animals that inspired the poses along with information about their behaviors and habitats, thumbnail photos of the five racially and gender diverse children modelling proper yoga technique, and the English and Sanskrit name of each asana.

Animals, action, and accurate information—packaged for kids. A winner. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3752-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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