Wonderfully understated humor, thought-provoking illustrations, and a spot-on theme about the enriching nature of embracing...

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CARROT AND PEA

AN UNLIKELY FRIENDSHIP

Lee, a pea, and Colin, a carrot, are improbable friends in this picture book.

Lee is a pea, round and green, as peas are. All Lee’s friends are peas—all round, all green—except Colin, who is a carrot stick and is therefore an elongated rectangular shape and orange. Not only does Colin look different, he also can’t do the things that peas take for granted. He can’t roll, for instance, or bounce. But Colin can do other things—he can be a tower for the peas to jump from, a bridge for the peas to roll over, or, for even more pea-fun, a slide. Hood’s spare text strips the theme of accepting and embracing differences to its core, while her inventive and humorous illustrations are thought-provoking in their construction: they are collages made from plastic grocery bags. In picture books, the message of embracing difference is, thankfully, a popular one, but it is Hood’s dry humor as well as her illustrations, with their implicit message of turning throwaways into art, that make this story stand out.

Wonderfully understated humor, thought-provoking illustrations, and a spot-on theme about the enriching nature of embracing differences combine to create a story that is much more than the sum of its parts. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-544-86842-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life.

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BE YOU!

An inspirational picture book offers life advice for readers who want to be themselves.

Replete with sparkling, often quirky illustrations of children living their best lives, this book is a gorgeous guidebook for those seeking encouragement while encountering life’s challenges. The children featured—a racially diverse group ranging from infants to preschoolers—cheerfully navigate the various injunctions that flow through the text: “Be curious.…Be adventurous.…Be persistent.…Be kind.” What is remarkable about the book is that even though the instructions and the brief sentences explaining them are at times vague, the illustrations expand on them in ways readers will find endearing and uplifting. Those depicting painful or challenging moments are especially effective. The “Be persistent” double-page spread shows a child in a boat on stormy seas; it’s rich with deep blues as it emphasizes the energy of wind and rain and struggle in the face of challenge. Together with the accompanying repeated phrase “Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop,” this spread arrests readers. By contrast, the “Be kind. Be understanding” spread simply presents two children’s faces, one cast in blue and the other in gold, but the empathy that Reynolds conveys is similarly captivating. While there is no plot to pull readers through the pages, the book provides rich fodder for caregivers to use as teachable moments, both informally and in classroom settings.

Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-57231-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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