An attractive pictorial offering stressing the universality of children’s play the world over.

COME OUT AND PLAY

A GLOBAL JOURNEY

An international array of color photographs presents children engaging in many kinds of joyful activities.

A child in Madagascar uses tin cans to create a toy car. An Ethiopian kid plucks a stringed instrument. Kids play foosball in Benin, chess in Spain, jacks in Guatemala, and table tennis in the Czech Republic. Two others play in the water with a large leaf and a basket in a photo captioned “Cooling off with a buddy in a river in Thailand.” Children in Mexico and South Africa have fun with bubbles. The South African photo gracing the cover shows a racially diverse group of children on a colorful play structure stretching out their arms to let the bubbles fly up into the sky. Each double-page spread includes a full-bleed photo and then two or three photos on the opposite page on a solid-color background, following the format of other books supporting the Global Fund for Children by this capable author pair. Short phrases in large type explain different ideas about play, and clear captions identify each activity and country. At the end, a map identifies each country’s location, and short paragraphs further explore the book’s themes. Most parts of the world are included, although there could be more from Latin America and the Middle East, and the Caribbean has been neglected.

An attractive pictorial offering stressing the universality of children’s play the world over. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 13, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62354-163-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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A poem about the pandemic with vivid illustrations and a strong environmental message.

AND THE PEOPLE STAYED HOME

During a period of quarantine, people discover new ways to live—and new lessons about how to care for the planet—in this debut picture book.

In this work’s poem, O’Meara describes lockdowns experienced by many across the world during the first days of the Covid-19 pandemic. Beginning with the title phrase, the author discusses quiet activities of solitude and togetherness as well as more boisterous ways of interacting. These times of being apart give people a new perspective, and when they reunite, “they grieved their losses, / and made new choices” to restore the planet. The spare verse allows the illustrations by Di Cristofaro and Pereda to take center stage. The colorful, slightly abstract cartoons depict a rainbow of people and pets, many of them living in apartments but some residing in larger, greener spaces. Images of nature healing show the author’s vision of hope for the future. While this was written in March and originally published as an online poem, the lack of an explicit mention of the reason behind the lockdowns (and the omission of the experiences of essential workers) could offer readers an opportunity to imagine a planetary healing beyond the pandemic that inspired the piece. The accessible prose and beautiful images make this a natural selection for young readers, but older ones may appreciate the work’s deeper meaning.

A poem about the pandemic with vivid illustrations and a strong environmental message.

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-73476-178-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tra Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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Effectively argues that “People are more powerful together.”

SOMETIMES PEOPLE MARCH

Simple, direct statements are paired with watercolor illustrations to highlight some of the rallying causes for organized marches throughout the history of the United States.

The text and art begin with two marches that will reemerge as metaphor later in the book: a long line of ants marching to and from a piece of watermelon, and members of a blue-and-gold–clad marching band following their leader’s baton. As the band recedes on the verso, across the gutter an extremely diverse group of people similar to the crowds marching across the book’s cover advances toward readers on recto. Here the text repeats the book’s title. Next, negative space surrounds a small group of women and children—obviously from an earlier time—holding a protest sign. The text explains that sometimes people march “to resist injustice.” The facing page shows a contemporary family gazing with chagrin at a polluted beach; they will march because they “notice a need for change.” The text continues to offer simple explanations of why people march, eventually moving to other peaceful means of resistance, including signs, boycotts, strikes, sit-ins, and “taking a knee.” Hardship in the form of physical and psychic exhaustion is mentioned, but police and other legally sanctioned violence against protest is not—the general mood is uplifting encouragement to young, potential activists. This timely book combines rudimentary facts about peaceful resistance with art that depicts organized actions from the 19th century through today, and endnotes reveal more specifics about each illustration, including historic figures represented.

Effectively argues that “People are more powerful together.” (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299118-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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