THE WAY BACK HOME

A boy (who bears a striking resemblance to the boy in Lost and Found, 2005 and How to Catch a Star, 2004) finds an airplane in his closet. Though he doesn’t remember putting it there, he decides he should take it out for a flight. After flying higher and higher, he finds himself stranded on the moon with a dying flashlight. Following scary sounds, he meets a friendly Martian in a similar predicament. They make a list of what they need in order to fix both crafts, and the boy parachutes back to Earth. He’s so tired, he initially forgets his mission. Then he remembers, gathers their equipment and hollers for the Martian to lower a rope. The two fix each other’s machines and say their goodbyes. A peek at the last page shows that the friendship is far from over. Jeffers’s latest tale of loneliness cured by friendship is as charming as his previous efforts. The space theme as well as the simple watercolor-and-pencil illustrations will please every young, imaginative adventurer. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-399-25074-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2008

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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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Simple acts of kindness that warm the heart.

FINDING KINDNESS

“Kindness is sometimes / a cup and a card.” Wait! What?

Yes, kindness is a cup and a card—when someone uses them to gently trap a ladybug inside and release it outside. With a simple rhyming text and softly colored illustrations of community scenes, each page shows neighbors, professionals, and strangers modeling simple acts of kindness toward people and animals. A child rakes leaves for an older neighbor, another brings soup to someone who is “sneezy,” and one even shares a book via a clever bucket delivery system. As neighboring businesses, a flower seller swaps a bouquet for peaches with a grocer. A fireman rescues a cat from a tree, park security helps a lost child, and an ice cream vendor gives a cone to a young skater who has fallen. Even strangers act with kindness and return a dropped key, snap a picture for a vacationing family, and adopt a dog that “others ignore.” From infants to grandparents, people in this busy and diverse community come together to enjoy one another and their common interests. Illustrations show a girl wearing a hijab, a child in a wheelchair playing badminton with friends, and interracial families.

Simple acts of kindness that warm the heart. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 29, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-250-23789-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Godwin Books/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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