A great addition to libraries’ and teacher’s shelves for units on community helpers.



Rhyming verses and illustrations of hands working give readers the opportunity to guess what community jobs people do.

“Stop and go, these hands are waving. / Catch that guy! He’s misbehaving! / These hands help us keep the peace. / Hold yours up, it’s the… // police!” The richly colored and nicely textured illustrations show a hand holding a radio, a pointing index finger, hands writing a summons, and a hand holding a stop sign. From the commonplace to those that rarely appear in picture books, the other occupations include farmer, cook, scientist, potter, news reporter, mechanic, architect, referee, and physician. The final puzzle reveals the hands of teachers, a perfect segue to the final spread, which shows a classroom full of tots dressed as community helpers before an adult audience of the same. In both the pictures showing only hands and in the full-page reveals, people of all genders, ages, and ethnicities are displayed. Backmatter includes two double-page spreads describing each of the careers—what that job entails and the education/experience needed for it.

A great addition to libraries’ and teacher’s shelves for units on community helpers. (author’s note) (Informational picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4677-5214-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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Positive, powerful, and affirming.


Deciding what to wear becomes an adventure for a small boy.

Fred likes to “[romp] through the house naked and wild and free.” His romping takes him into his parents’ bedroom closet, where Fred initially checks out Dad’s clothing. Thinking it would be fun to dress like Dad, Fred selects a shirt, tie, and shoes, but he struggles with them. Moving onto Mom’s side of the closet, Fred opts for a blouse, scarf, and shoes, all of which easily slip on. Dressed in Mom’s clothes and huge shoes, Fred explores her jewelry box and makeup drawer, adding a necklace to his ensemble, but his attempt to apply lipstick ends in a smear. When Mom and Dad see Fred in his chosen apparel, they smile, and soon Mom shows Fred how to apply makeup and style his hair while Dad and the dog join the fun. Rendered in strong, black outlines, simple shapes, and complementary pinks and greens, the memorable illustrations portray Fred as a rosy, free-spirited tot unabashedly streaking through the house as his parents calmly read. Fred’s unsuccessful experiment with Dad’s drab male wardrobe and subsequent exploration of Mom’s more exciting female attire, jewelry, and makeup are presented as an unremarkable occurrence for young Fred. The text-free close-up of Mom’s and Dad’s reactions to Fred in Mom’s clothing sends just the right message of parental acceptance, support, and love. All three have pale skin and straight hair, Fred’s and Dad’s darker than Mom’s.

Positive, powerful, and affirming. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-20064-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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This powerful ode to community delivers a timeless message of humility, perseverance, and hope.


Pham addresses the adversity and resulting growth experienced individually and collectively while the world sheltered in place.

This uplifting reflection on the spring 2020 coronavirus lockdowns expounds on the resiliency of the human spirit as everyone the world over shut themselves indoors. Several different locales and styles of homes are depicted, highlighting the global impact of this almost universal experience. The simple, first-person narrative emphasizes we through deliberate pacing and repetitive use, firmly cementing the theme of togetherness and connection. While the narrative never explicitly names the virus, this accounting is sensitive to both the challenges and triumphs of navigating this new reality of shared vulnerability. A busy street scene filled with masked first responders and other essential workers is followed by a double-page montage of hospital views inspired by real events. One double-page spread shows families cooking and playing while also featuring anxious faces of adults and a frustrated child at a computer screen. These vignettes are outlined in angular edges, reflecting the uncertain, disjointed feelings experienced by all. A following spread shows a larger spectrum of daily moments, this time shaped in sturdy squares and rectangles that signal a newfound stability as people learned to endure and adapt. Told with a gentle but steadying reassurance, this book posits that despite differences or the distances among us, everyone stayed inside because “it was the right thing to do.” Intentionally diverse, the characters represent a wide range of racial presentations. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 30.5% of actual size.)

This powerful ode to community delivers a timeless message of humility, perseverance, and hope. (author's note) (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-79835-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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