Smart, sassy, supportive girl power to the max! (Picture book. 3-6)

READ REVIEW

COOKIE & MILK

A SCIENTIFICALLY STUNT-TASTIC SISTERHOOD

It can be hard to make friends when your personalities clash.

McAvoy’s friendship tale features two girls who recount how they learned to be friends and bonded over their personality differences. Cookie is a brown girl who loves science, and Milk is a white girl who loves sports. The girls banter back and forth, recalling how they discovered they have fun playing together—especially when they use their complementary personalities to accomplish something awesome! If Milk wants to skate, then Cookie is in the background helping her reach her fullest potential by building a ramp, for instance. Throughout the book, early readers will love guessing what Milk’s younger brother is trying to communicate (he also slyly breaks the fourth wall) when he introduces fans to exciting new science words such as “engine’s ear!”—er, “engineer.” Caregivers will also find helpful starter questions to ask when exploring differences with their kids. Those questions provide a framework within which young readers may learn to value and accept differences in themselves and others. Even after the story, readers are provided with a list of powerhouse women who were either “smart” or “sporty,” and a glossary of words encourages supportive friendships. Gibson’s simple, cartoon illustrations playfully remind girls that there are universal commonalities in sisterhood.

Smart, sassy, supportive girl power to the max! (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-9976085-8-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cardinal Rule Press

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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Banal affirmation buoyed by charming illustrations.

I BELIEVE I CAN

Diversity is the face of this picture book designed to inspire confidence in children.

Fans of Byers and Bobo’s I Am Enough (2018) will enjoy this book that comes with a universal message of self-acceptance. A line of children practices ballet at the barre; refreshingly, two of the four are visibly (and adorably) pudgy. Another group tends a couple of raised beds; one of them wears hijab. Two more children coax a trepidatious friend down a steep slide. Further images, of children pretending to be pirates, dragons, mimes, playing superhero and soccer, and cooking, are equally endearing, but unfortunately they don’t add enough heft to set the book apart from other empowerment books for children. Though the illustrations shine, the text remains pedagogic and bland. Clichés abound: “When I believe in myself, there’s simply nothing I can’t do”; “Sometimes I am right, and sometimes I am wrong. / But even when I make mistakes, I learn from them to make me strong.” The inclusion of children with varying abilities, religions, genders, body types, and racial presentations creates an inviting tone that makes the book palatable. It’s hard to argue with the titular sentiment, but this is not the only book of its ilk on the shelf.

Banal affirmation buoyed by charming illustrations. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-266713-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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