Alone in the schoolyard, the young protagonist sits apart from the others, but he is quite present. “I am here,” he says....

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I'M HERE

Eloquent, fanciful text and illustrations that sparkle with clarity combine to perfectly portray a solitary boy’s flight of imagination.

Alone in the schoolyard, the young protagonist sits apart from the others, but he is quite present. “I am here,” he says. Happy to examine the details of the world around him, he is fine—until a piece of paper falls right into his lap, ready to be transformed. He folds the paper into an airplane, which then flies higher and higher, bringing him on a journey above the playground, clouds and sky, then back down to be caught by his schoolmates. The repeated refrain, “I am here,” reinforces the boy’s sense of himself in the world, even though he is alone, and his unique point of view is both distinct and easy to understand. Clean, appealing illustrations are distilled to their essential elements, focusing purely on the boy and allowing viewers to add their own details. In the end, the airplane sails to someone else—perhaps a new friend—who kindly returns it to the boy. This was written with autistic children in mind but encompasses a wider subject; any child who is isolated, introverted or simply self-contained will find something of him- or herself to recognize and appreciate here.

Pub Date: Aug. 16, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4169-9649-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: July 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2011

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Readers will agree: All differences should be hugged, er, embraced.

BIRD HUGS

Watch out, Hug Machine (Scott Campbell, 2014), there’s another long-limbed lover of squeezes in the mix.

Bernard, a tiny, lavender bird, dejectedly sits atop a high branch. His wings droop all the way to the ground. Heaving a sigh, his disappointment is palpable. With insufferably long wings, he has never been able to fly. All of his friends easily took to the skies, leaving him behind. There is nothing left to do but sit in his tree and feel sorry for himself. Adamson amusingly shows readers the passage of time with a sequence of vignettes of Bernard sitting in the rain, the dark, and amid a cloud of paper wasps—never moving from his branch. Then one day he hears a sob and finds a tearful orangutan. Without even thinking, Bernard wraps his long wings around the great ape. The orangutan is comforted! Bernard has finally found the best use of his wings. In gentle watercolor and pencil sketches, Adamson slips in many moments of humor. Animals come from all over to tell Bernard their troubles (a lion muses that it is “lonely at the top of the food chain” while a bat worries about missing out on fun during the day). Three vertical spreads that necessitate a 90-degree rotation add to the fun.

Readers will agree: All differences should be hugged, er, embraced. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9271-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 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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