This lyrical picture book will draw readers under its soft wing, lulling children with its velveteen artwork and assured...

READ REVIEW

YOU BELONG HERE

A narrator whispers sweet assurances of belonging in the ear of a beloved, invoking animals’ analogous habitats and hollows to bring the comforting ascriptions powerfully home.

Watercolor illustrations utilize every gradation of gray to achieve astonishing, soft specificity and alternatively show human houses and animal homes in the natural world. Mellow reds, greens, and yellows crop up here and there, serving as keen testaments to the power of placement in the scenes they depict. Lovingly constructed, reliable rhymes, with pleasing pendular swings, might cause listeners to hug themselves tightly and smile. “And the trees belong in the wild wood / and the deer belong in their shade, / and the birds belong so safe and good / and warm in the nests they’ve made.” Animals enjoy habitations all their own, sublime places described with crystalline clarity: streams skirted with cattails, red and gold desert rocks, canyons blanketed with sage, dune grasses, and a stone wall surrounded by clover. Cursive script (intrinsically personal and unique) accompanies lines directed at a listening human audience and images of human houses. One could easily improvise a quick melody and sing these words as a lullaby.

This lyrical picture book will draw readers under its soft wing, lulling children with its velveteen artwork and assured affirmations of each creature’s special nook in such a spectacularly varied world. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-938298-99-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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Pair this with Leo Timmers’ Who Is Driving? (2007) for twice the guessing fun.

CLOTHESLINE CLUES TO JOBS PEOPLE DO

From the Clothesline Clues series

Heling and Hembrook’s clever conceit challenges children to analyze a small town’s clotheslines to guess the job each of their owners does. 

Close-up on the clothesline: “Uniform and cap, / an invite for you. / Big bag of letters. / What job does she do?” A turn of the page reveals a macro view of the home, van and the woman doing her job, “She is a mail carrier.” Indeed, she can be spotted throughout the book delivering invitations to all the rest of the characters, who gather at the end for a “Launch Party.” The verses’ rhymes are spot-on, though the rhythm falters a couple of times. The authors nicely mix up the gender stereotypes often associated with several of these occupations, making the carpenter, firefighter and astronaut women. But while Davies keeps uniforms and props pretty neutral (he even avoids U.S. mail symbols), he keeps to the stereotypes that allow young readers to easily identify occupations—the farmer chews on a stalk of wheat; the beret-wearing artist sports a curly mustache. A subdued palette and plain white backgrounds keep kids’ focus on the clothing clues. Still, there are plenty of details to absorb—the cat with arched back that anticipates a spray of water, the firefighter who “lights” the rocket.

Pair this with Leo Timmers’ Who Is Driving? (2007) for twice the guessing fun. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-58089-251-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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