A beautifully illustrated ode for preschoolers.


This illustrated children’s board book celebrates everything wonderful about loblolly pine trees.

In a serene, outdoor setting, where fairies fly and small animals live, there’s a children’s playhouse and tall, loblolly pines. The latter “sway in the breeze,” individually and together, and the text compares their distinct appearance—tall, vertical trunks with branches and needles clustered at the top—to birthday candles, cotton candy, and bottle brushes. They stand together in neighborly groups (“The more the merrier”); their green needles turn brown after they fall off; and they provide shelter and support to birds, holly bushes, and small animals. Their pine cones also resemble pineapples, which the narrator calls “a sign of welcome.” Mommy Moo Moo (Vegetable Chatter, 2016) nicely conveys her appreciation for loblollies and their role in the natural world in understandable but not dumbed-down language; some words (“flexible,” “unison”) may need explanation. The gentle, simple prose in sentences such as “Are you trying to touch the clouds as they go by?” helps create a dreamy sense of wonder. The book has good read-aloud potential, with opportunities, for example, to mimic the trees’ rocking in the whooshing wind. Hill’s lovely, full-page illustrations are greatly appealing—realistic and three-dimensional rather than flat and cartoonlike. His soft colors, well-observed details, and varied perspectives are a real delight.

A beautifully illustrated ode for preschoolers.

Pub Date: Dec. 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9831584-0-0

Page Count: 19

Publisher: Damara Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity.


A collection of parental wishes for a child.

It starts out simply enough: two children run pell-mell across an open field, one holding a high-flying kite with the line “I wish you more ups than downs.” But on subsequent pages, some of the analogous concepts are confusing or ambiguous. The line “I wish you more tippy-toes than deep” accompanies a picture of a boy happily swimming in a pool. His feet are visible, but it's not clear whether he's floating in the deep end or standing in the shallow. Then there's a picture of a boy on a beach, his pockets bulging with driftwood and colorful shells, looking frustrated that his pockets won't hold the rest of his beachcombing treasures, which lie tantalizingly before him on the sand. The line reads: “I wish you more treasures than pockets.” Most children will feel the better wish would be that he had just the right amount of pockets for his treasures. Some of the wordplay, such as “more can than knot” and “more pause than fast-forward,” will tickle older readers with their accompanying, comical illustrations. The beautifully simple pictures are a sweet, kid- and parent-appealing blend of comic-strip style and fine art; the cast of children depicted is commendably multiethnic.

Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4521-2699-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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