A visual delight.

READ REVIEW

BUTTON & POPPER

A pixie family struggles to find a new home.

Mother and Father pixie and their 12 children need another place to live: With winter setting in, their apple tree no longer provides adequate shelter. Two of the boys, twins Button and Popper, sneak out early one morning, but all the people they ask about accommodations are aghast at the size of their family and have no idea where they could possibly go. Mistakenly carried home in a basket by an absent-minded professor and placed in his cellar, the adventuresome duo escapes and returns to the market to retrieve the professor’s actual basket, left behind when he picked up the wrong one. They deliver it back to him, whereupon he offers them use of his home until the spring. The family rejoices. Illustrated in saturated shades of yellow, orange, and black with simple geometric shapes and line designs reminiscent of Marimekko textiles, this 1960s reissue from Finland possesses retro charm. The pixies wear pointed hats with bobbles on top. While gender is ambiguous for most of the children, it’s the male characters who tend to demonstrate agency. Skin tone is mostly white but occasionally orange, yellow, or black. Inquisitive readers may wonder where the family lived the previous winter as well as about the scale of the pixies’ world (Button slips an apple into his pocket but later appears to be about the size of the professor’s bottle of juice). However, this simple story is sweet and appealing.

A visual delight. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-500-65201-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Pair this with Leo Timmers’ Who Is Driving? (2007) for twice the guessing fun.

CLOTHESLINE CLUES TO JOBS PEOPLE DO

From the Clothesline Clues series

Heling and Hembrook’s clever conceit challenges children to analyze a small town’s clotheslines to guess the job each of their owners does. 

Close-up on the clothesline: “Uniform and cap, / an invite for you. / Big bag of letters. / What job does she do?” A turn of the page reveals a macro view of the home, van and the woman doing her job, “She is a mail carrier.” Indeed, she can be spotted throughout the book delivering invitations to all the rest of the characters, who gather at the end for a “Launch Party.” The verses’ rhymes are spot-on, though the rhythm falters a couple of times. The authors nicely mix up the gender stereotypes often associated with several of these occupations, making the carpenter, firefighter and astronaut women. But while Davies keeps uniforms and props pretty neutral (he even avoids U.S. mail symbols), he keeps to the stereotypes that allow young readers to easily identify occupations—the farmer chews on a stalk of wheat; the beret-wearing artist sports a curly mustache. A subdued palette and plain white backgrounds keep kids’ focus on the clothing clues. Still, there are plenty of details to absorb—the cat with arched back that anticipates a spray of water, the firefighter who “lights” the rocket.

Pair this with Leo Timmers’ Who Is Driving? (2007) for twice the guessing fun. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-58089-251-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here.

ONE LOVE

A sugary poem, very loosely based on the familiar song, lacks focus.

Using only the refrain from the original (“One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel all right!”), the reggae great’s daughter Cedella Marley sees this song as her “happy song” and adapts it for children. However, the adaptation robs it of life. After the opening lines, readers familiar with the original song (or the tourism advertisement for Jamaica) will be humming along only to be stopped by the bland lines that follow: “One love, what the flower gives the bee.” and then “One love, what Mother Earth gives the tree.” Brantley-Newton’s sunny illustrations perfectly reflect the saccharine quality of the text. Starting at the beginning of the day, readers see a little girl first in bed, under a photograph of Bob Marley, the sun streaming into her room, a bird at the window. Each spread is completely redundant—when the text is about family love, the illustration actually shows little hearts floating from her parents to the little girl. An image of a diverse group getting ready to plant a community garden, walking on top of a river accompanies the words “One love, like the river runs to the sea.”

Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here. (afterword) (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0224-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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