Definitely worth a second look among the extensive array of books about large vehicles.

BIG TRACTOR

A burly man in a plaid shirt and baseball cap addresses his tractor as “Ol’ Partner,” reminding his green-painted friend of all the jobs they do together over the course of one agricultural year, from spring to winter.

The type on the cover emphasizes the word “big,” and the tractor’s increasing size on the title and acknowledgment pages confirms that the tractor is indeed the book’s star. In the first spread of the actual story, it looms so large in the foreground that just a fraction of its large girth is depicted, while in the background, the farmer slides open a door and says, in boldly lettered words, “Wake up, Ol’ Partner. It’s springtime!” Impressive graphics on a series of spreads show different tools hooked up to the tractor as it assists with tasks throughout the seasons, ending with a lovely post-harvest activity. Young children will enjoy the frequent appearances of a woman in pink and a child—probably male—in green, who sometimes help with activities and are obviously part of the farm family. The boy, who shows subtle growth over the seasons, can be spotted relaxing under an umbrella attached to Ol’ Partner during one of the tractor’s rest periods, and the woman drives Ol’ Partner in an appealing, crepuscular scene of autumn harvest, with patterns of cornstalks backlit by the man’s harvester.

Definitely worth a second look among the extensive array of books about large vehicles. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62091-790-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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The joys of counting combine with pretty art and homage to Goodnight Moon.

GOODNIGHT, NUMBERS

This bedtime book offers simple rhymes, celebrates the numbers one through 10, and encourages the counting of objects.

Each double-page spread shows a different toddler-and-caregiver pair, with careful attention to different skin tones, hair types, genders, and eye shapes. The pastel palette and soft, rounded contours of people and things add to the sleepy litany of the poems, beginning with “Goodnight, one fork. / Goodnight, one spoon. / Goodnight, one bowl. / I’ll see you soon.” With each number comes a different part in a toddler’s evening routine, including dinner, putting away toys, bathtime, and a bedtime story. The white backgrounds of the pages help to emphasize the bold representations of the numbers in both written and numerical forms. Each spread gives multiple opportunities to practice counting to its particular number; for example, the page for “four” includes four bottles of shampoo and four inlaid dots on a stool—beyond the four objects mentioned in the accompanying rhyme. Each home’s décor, and the array and types of toys and accoutrements within, shows a decidedly upscale, Western milieu. This seems compatible with the patronizing author’s note to adults, which accuses “the media” of indoctrinating children with fear of math “in our country.” Regardless, this sweet treatment of numbers and counting may be good prophylaxis against math phobia.

The joys of counting combine with pretty art and homage to Goodnight Moon. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-93378-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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