Simplistic but heartfelt, earnest, and a discussion starter.

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MISS PINKELTINK'S PURSE

The concept of homelessness is brought down to the youngest child’s level.

It’s not until the third spread, after the newly arrived, plump, gray-haired woman has mowed a swath through town with her heavy bag, that readers get the first hint that Miss Pinkeltink may be homeless. She explains, “Sometimes it’s a blessing, sometimes it’s a curse, / but all that I have, I have in my purse.” Her heart’s in the right place; she searches her bag for bits and pieces to give to townspeople (though most are a little off, such as the comb she hands to a bald man). Finally the bag is empty save for the “pleasure her gifts could provide.” And then she beds down under a willow tree. Young Zoey sees her and enlists the townspeople to help. Seemingly the next day, the racially diverse people lead Miss Pinkeltink in a parade, gifting her various household goods just as she gifted them her small treasures, until they reach their destination: “Your purse needs a home.” The rhymes, the bright colors, the innocuous and eclectic items contained in the purse, and, most of all, Miss Pinkeltink’s sweet-old-lady demeanor and eccentric dress keep the tone of the book light and the protagonist from seeming pitiable. And though the solution may feel ludicrously easy to adult readers, this is a nonthreatening and simple introduction to the topic for young children who have no prior exposure to homelessness. No explanation is given for Miss Pinkeltink’s situation. Miss Pinkeltink is white, and Zoey has light brown skin and straight brown hair.

Simplistic but heartfelt, earnest, and a discussion starter. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-88448-626-8

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Tilbury House

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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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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A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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