A thought-inspiring approach.

READ REVIEW

NORA THE MIND READER

A little girl’s sensitivity to childhood banter is assuaged with the help of her resourceful mom, who provides an inventive tool for interpreting altered meaning.

When kindergartner Nora is insulted by a classmate’s comment about her “flamingo legs,” mother gives her a magic wand to look through in order to see people’s thoughts as they speak. Using a photo-collaged–in pink soap-bubble wand like a pair of fancy spectacles, Nora sees not only the traditional speech bubbles with everyone’s commentary, but also a soap bubble with a more insightful thought, thus reading the mind of each person. For example, when a little boy states, “I’m hungry,” his accompanying thought bubble says, “I want some chocolate.” When Nora’s animal-loving friend Harry calls her “flamingo legs,” she sees his thoughts as, “When you’re around, everything looks pink. I know what a flamingo is! I’m so smart.” Armed with this ability to hear between the lines and infer meaningful interpretations, Nora gains confidence and realizes that the key to social interactions is understanding that what people say aloud is not always what they really think. Essential to completing the concept in this Israeli import is the striking collage art created with cream-hued paints over a Hebrew newspaper and curvy-lined crayon drawings filled in with rosy pinks and indigo for Nora and Harry respectively.

A thought-inspiring approach. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59270-120-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2012

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Accessible, reassuring and hopeful.

THE INVISIBLE BOY

This endearing picture book about a timid boy who longs to belong has an agenda but delivers its message with great sensitivity.

Brian wants to join in but is overlooked, even ostracized, by his classmates. Readers first see him alone on the front endpapers, drawing in chalk on the ground. The school scenarios are uncomfortably familiar: High-maintenance children get the teacher’s attention; team captains choose kickball players by popularity and athletic ability; chatter about birthday parties indicates they are not inclusive events. Tender illustrations rendered in glowing hues capture Brian’s isolation deftly; compared to the others and his surroundings, he appears in black and white. What saves Brian is his creativity. As he draws, Brian imagines amazing stories, including a poignant one about a superhero with the power to make friends. When a new boy takes some ribbing, it is Brian who leaves an illustrated note to make him feel better. The boy does not forget this gesture. It only takes one person noticing Brian for the others to see his talents have value; that he has something to contribute. Brian’s colors pop. In the closing endpapers, Brian’s classmates are spread around him on the ground, “wearing” his chalk-drawn wings and capes. Use this to start a discussion: The author includes suggested questions and recommended reading lists for adults and children.

Accessible, reassuring and hopeful. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-582-46450-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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This earnest Latino first-grader who overcomes obstacles and solves mysteries is a winning character

PEDRO, FIRST-GRADE HERO

From the Pedro series , Vol. 1

The creators of the Katie Woo series turn their focus to a peripheral character, first-grader Pedro—Katie’s friend and schoolmate.

Four short chapters—“Pedro Goes Buggy,” “Pedro’s Big Goal,” “Pedro’s Mystery Club,” and “Pedro For President”—highlight a Latino main character surrounded by a superbly diverse cast. At times unsure of himself, Pedro is extremely likable, for he wants to do his best and is a fair friend. He consistently comes out on top, even when his younger brother releases all the bugs he’s captured for a class assignment or when self-assured bully Roddy tries to unite opposition to Pedro’s female opponent (Katie Woo) in the race for first-grade class president. Using a third-person, past-tense narrative voice, Manushkin expands her repertoire by adding a hero comparable to EllRay Jakes. What is refreshing about the book is that for the most part, aside from Roddy’s gender-based bullying, the book overcomes boy-girl stereotypes: girls and boys play soccer, boys and girls run for president, girls and boys hunt for bugs, all setting a progressive standard for chapter books. With mixed-media illustrations featuring colorful bugs, soccer action, a mystery hunt, and a presidential campaign, Lyon’s attention to detail in color and facial expressions complements the story nicely.

This earnest Latino first-grader who overcomes obstacles and solves mysteries is a winning character . (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5158-0112-2

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Picture Window Books

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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