An attractive introduction to the topic.

READ REVIEW

HEALTHY KIDS

Ajmera’s To Be a Kid (with co-author and photographer John D. Ivanko, 1999) focused on kids the world over engaged in play; in a similar format, this latest examines what children need in order to stay healthy.

Eye-catching photos are the centerpiece of this book. Each spread lists one thing that healthy kids need—“Healthy kids need clean water to drink”—while the labeled photographs show several children from different countries and how that need is met for them: A child drinks from a water fountain in Japan, and another uses a pump well in India; in Ghana, a girl pours water from a bucket carried atop her head. Healthy kids also need good food, clean bodies and teeth, a place to use the bathroom, a home, medical care and vaccinations, exercise, protection from the elements, safety gear such as seat belts and helmets, and most of all, loving families and communities. A multicolored world map highlights the countries mentioned, and backmatter explains how, in some areas of the world, those needs are difficult to meet and what kids, no matter where they live, can do to make sure they stay healthy. When this is paired with the likes of David J. Smith’s This Child, Every Child (illustrated by Shelagh Armstrong, 2011), readers will learn not only what kids need, but just how many kids lack these basic necessities.

An attractive introduction to the topic. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58089-436-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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Precious—but timely and comforting all the same.

WHILE WE CAN'T HUG

From the Hedgehog and Tortoise Story series

The two creatures who fulfilled each other’s yearning for physical contact in The Hug (2019) find alternative ways to connect in a time of social distancing.

Blushing and smiling and looking every bit as sweet as they did in their original meet-cute, Hedgehog and Tortoise respond to Owl’s reassurance that “there are lots of ways to show someone you love them” by standing on opposing pages and sending signals, letters, dances, air kisses, and songs across the gutter. Demonstrating their mutual love and friendship, they regard each other fondly across the gap through sun and storm, finally gesturing air hugs beneath a rainbow of colors and stars. “They could not touch. / They could not hug. // But they both knew / that they were loved.” In line with the minimalist narrative and illustrations there is no mention of the enforced separation’s cause nor, aside from the titular conjunction, any hint of its possible duration. Still, its core affirmation is delivered in a simple, direct, unmistakable way, and if the thematic connection with the previous outing seems made to order for a marketing opportunity, it does address a widespread emotional need in young (and maybe not so young) audiences. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9.8-by-19.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 78% of actual size.)

Precious—but timely and comforting all the same. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-5713-6558-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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DIRTBALL PETE

Visually, Dirtball Pete is a charmer—a begrimed lad with a thatch of unruly hair, a crooked smile and button eyes as black as tar. He wears his dirt well, and even when his mother scrubs him squeaky clean in preparation for a school recital he is still cherubic, though every reader will know it won’t take long for Pete to look like he was used as a chimney brush. Brennan’s text is likewise pleasing, with an idiosyncratic beat: “With one final tidying, then a big kiss, then a quick swipe of a tissue to remove the kiss, then one last smoothing of his hair…” But somewhere along the line the story gets left behind. Pete’s a dirtball, Pete gets cleaned to give his public presentation, Pete gets dirty but still gives his recital, Pete gets a big round of applause because he talks the loudest. Being loud doesn’t follow in any sense from his grunginess, nor does it add to Pete’s persona. Introduced so late in the proceedings, it’s like the author threw a little water on our hero, muddying his heart-robbing filthiness. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-375-83425-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2010

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