A fun, simple tale with a memorable theme.

Sophia's Red Hat

When a little girl pays an act of kindness forward, love multiplies and an entire town dances for joy in Nichvolodoff’s (Cleo’s Treasure Hunt, 2016, etc.) children’s book, with illustrations by Paradero.

Young fans of spontaneous dancing will enjoy reading this wiggle-inducing story of a twirling girl named Sophia. One day, she sees a red, knit cap caught in the branches of a tree, so she uses a long stick to knock it down. Unable to locate the cap’s owner, Sophia wears it proudly until a strong wind blows it away. She’s sad to have lost her newfound treasure, so the inventive girl asks Grandmother to help her learn how to knit another one. Grandmother complies, and Sophia is thrilled to get another beautiful red hat. She wants to spread the joy, so she makes a second cap for her grandmother. When Sophia’s mother sees them both wearing their new headgear, she requests—and receives—one of her own. Pretty soon, Sophia, Grandmother, and Mother knit more caps to share with neighbors, and they, in turn, make them for other townspeople. As the process goes on, more people—and even some dogs and cats—dance, twirl, and play musical instruments in Sophia’s ever-increasing red hat parade. Paradero’s brightly colored illustrations complement this pleasant tale. The images feature old-fashioned characters wearing 19th-century-style clothing (such as long dresses and high collars), but there’s minimal diversity of skin tone. Although the narrative isn’t exceptionally imaginative, it flows easily and offers effective repetition: “Everyone was so thrilled with their new red hats they twirled right and twirled left. They twirled down the road into town and twirled with their drums and their horns and their tambourines.” The moralistic story ends with a declaration that “kindness begets kindness.” Additionally, it poses a thought-provoking math question: “How many hats were knit for people?” It’s a bit tricky to figure out the exact number who received hats, so adults will probably need to offer guidance to help kids answer the question. Some parents may cringe at the idea of a child putting a stranger’s unwashed cap on his or her head, but many others will like the book’s emphasis on thoughtfulness.

A fun, simple tale with a memorable theme.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4907-6560-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Trafford

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2016

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MORNING GIRL

Like the quiet lap of waves on the sand, the alternating introspections of two Bahamian island children in 1492. Morning Girl and her brother Star Boy are very different: she loves the hush of pre-dawn while he revels in night skies, noise, wind. In many ways they are antagonists, each too young and subjective to understand the other's perspective—in contrast to their mother's appreciation for her brother. In the course of these taut chapters concerning such pivotal events as their mother's losing a child, the arrival of a hurricane, or Star Boy's earning the right to his adult name, they grow closer. In the last, Morning Girl greets— with cordial innocence—a boat full of visitors, unaware that her beautifully balanced and textured life is about to be catalogued as ``very poor in everything,'' her island conquered by Europeans. This paradise is so intensely and believably imagined that the epilogue, quoted from Columbus's diary, sickens with its ominous significance. Subtly, Dorris draws parallels between the timeless chafings of sibs set on changing each other's temperaments and the intrusions of states questing new territory. Saddening, compelling—a novel to be cherished for its compassion and humanity. (Fiction. 8+)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 1992

ISBN: 1-56282-284-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1992

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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