While the puffy cover seems to signal “gift shop book” and the rather bland story does not stand out from the crowd, young...

LITTLE FOX, LOST

A Québecois import offers a cautionary wintertime tale.

In this pretty book, Mama Fox invites Little Fox out for a walk in the inviting snowy woods, warning him to stay close so that he won’t get lost. Little Fox, however, enchanted with his own game of making “pictures in the snow” with his paw prints, soon becomes discombobulated and lost. The rosy-cheeked Old Owl offers to guide him to Mama, but Little Fox remembers his mother’s admonishing rhyme: “If ever you are lost my child / Don’t let a stranger guide you. / Be still, and I will search the wild / Until I am beside you.” Various cute animals of the forest join in with Little Fox (including Old Owl after a grumble or two), and they sing this rhyme together, until the happy ending when Mama arrives, proud that Little Fox “had done exactly what he should.” Padrón’s cute animals and soft scenes of winter woods, done in muted grays, blues, and earth tones, pair well with the gentle words of this story to reach a satisfying conclusion and a gentle lesson for the very young for whom this story is intended.

While the puffy cover seems to signal “gift shop book” and the rather bland story does not stand out from the crowd, young ones will surely be comforted by the reuniting of Mama and Little Fox. (Picture book. 1-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 14, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-77278-004-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Pajama Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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Wonderful, indeed

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THE WONDERFUL THINGS YOU WILL BE

A GROWING-UP POEM

A love song to baby with delightful illustrations to boot.

Sweet but not saccharine and singsong but not forced, Martin’s text is one that will invite rereadings as it affirms parental wishes for children while admirably keeping child readers at its heart. The lines that read “This is the first time / There’s ever been you, / So I wonder what wonderful things / You will do” capture the essence of the picture book and are accompanied by a diverse group of babies and toddlers clad in downright adorable outfits. Other spreads include older kids, too, and pictures expand on the open text to visually interpret the myriad possibilities and hopes for the depicted children. For example, a spread reading “Will you learn how to fly / To find the best view?” shows a bespectacled, school-aged girl on a swing soaring through an empty white background. This is just one spread in which Martin’s fearless embrace of the white of the page serves her well. Throughout the book, she maintains a keen balance of layout choices, and surprising details—zebras on the wallpaper behind a father cradling his child, a rock-’n’-roll band of mice paralleling the children’s own band called “The Missing Teeth”—add visual interest and gentle humor. An ideal title for the baby-shower gift bag and for any nursery bookshelf or lap-sit storytime.

Wonderful, indeed . (Picture book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37671-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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Light, friendly, and not at all preachy—a gentle win for a kinder world.

ABCS OF KINDNESS

Rhyming couplets use the alphabet to simply explain the abstract concept of kindness.

Each letter of the alphabet stands for a word that adds nuance to the notion while line drawings of pink-cheeked stuffed animals—bear, bunny, elephant, mouse, lion, and giraffe—illustrate the behavior. The verses hint at exactly how to act kindly. Some are concrete: “Ii is for inviting everyone to play.” Some suggest attitudes that facilitate kindness. For example, “Bb is for believing things will be okay in the end!” and “Hh is for hope—tomorrow’s another day!” While many might take issue with the simplistic assertion that “Ee is for everyone—we are all the same,” taken as a whole, the book will lead even the youngest toddlers to the message. Organizationally, the book devotes one page each to 11 letters while 14 others share pages. “Zz is sleeping peacefully when your day of kindness is through” sprawls across a final double-page spread, showing all the animals fast asleep. Creating an ABC book is harder than this makes it look. The true test is what is chosen to represent Q, X, Y, and Z. “Quiet times,” “Yes I can,” and the aforementioned “zzz”s ably rise to the challenge. “Xx is for kisses” is a bit of a stretch but understandable. Pastel backgrounds, uncluttered design, and unforced rhymes keep the focus on the concept.

Light, friendly, and not at all preachy—a gentle win for a kinder world. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-593-12307-2

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Rodale Kids

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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