WHEN WINTER COMES

“Where oh where does everything go when winter comes and the cold winds blow?” A family discovers the answers as they take a walk on a day that begins with snow falling on green grass and ends with the landscape covered in white. Readers learn where leaves, flowers, caterpillars, songbirds, field mice, deer, fish, and children go during the cold months of winter. Leaves tumble down, petals wilt, caterpillars go inside their cocoons, birds fly south, field mice tunnel underground, fish swim deep, and deer wander, leaving footprints in the snow. The child goes, “In a warm, warm bed when winter comes round, listening to the wind with its gusting sound, watching the snow as it falls to the ground.” On the last page we see this adorable child in bed, under a quilt, “Snuggling deep. Fast asleep.” Little ones love rhyme and repetition, and by the end they will be chanting the “where oh where” question each time it appears. Van Laan dedicates this to her first grandchild, who will surely enjoy the subtle educational text. Gaber’s lovely, soft, acrylic illustrations show a rosy-cheeked child in full wide-eyed wonder and successfully convey the peace and quiet of a snowy day. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-689-81778-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2000

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Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles.

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YOU MATTER

Employing a cast of diverse children reminiscent of that depicted in Another (2019), Robinson shows that every living entity has value.

After opening endpapers that depict an aerial view of a busy playground, the perspective shifts to a black child, ponytails tied with beaded elastics, peering into a microscope. So begins an exercise in perspective. From those bits of green life under the lens readers move to “Those who swim with the tide / and those who don’t.” They observe a “pest”—a mosquito biting a dinosaur, a “really gassy” planet, and a dog whose walker—a child in a pink hijab—has lost hold of the leash. Periodically, the examples are validated with the titular refrain. Textured paint strokes and collage elements contrast with uncluttered backgrounds that move from white to black to white. The black pages in the middle portion foreground scenes in space, including a black astronaut viewing Earth; the astronaut is holding an image of another black youngster who appears on the next spread flying a toy rocket and looking lonely. There are many such visual connections, creating emotional interest and invitations for conversation. The story’s conclusion spins full circle, repeating opening sentences with new scenarios. From the microscopic to the cosmic, word and image illuminate the message without a whiff of didacticism.

Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2169-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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THE LITTLE YELLOW LEAF

Beautifully designed and executed, this modest fable anthropomorphizes a leaf who hangs onto his oak branch far into the winter. When he discovers another late-lingering leaf on his tree, both agree to let go at once and dance away in the wind together. The brief text has a modestly elegant beauty and patterning that makes it a delight to read aloud (with one unfortunate adverbial faux pas: “the / sun / sank / slow”). The handsomely designed collage compositions are showstoppers in a palette of earth and sky, sometimes on a subtle background of paint over graph or notebook paper. They take full advantage of the visual bounty of autumn, which will be a delight in many preschool storytimes. However, the implicit moral of taking courage from a friend may be over some children’s heads. They might wonder, as well, what exactly happens to the brave little leaves after they drift out of sight into the cold winter sky. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-06-145223-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2008

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