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LIFE IS MORE THAN THIS COVINGTON POND

A pleasant, family-oriented tale of expanding one’s horizons.

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Clare’s picture book chronicles a child’s lifelong love of transportation.

Nann, a young Black girl, is constantly curious about the world around her. She thinks about how machines work, where her Daddy goes to work, and everything she’s never seen before. She’s outside watching for airplanes, which she does often, when her trucker dad gets home. Nann’s always lived happily with her family in Covington Pond, but her father has always encouraged her to remember that life is about more than a single place. To that end, he takes Nann and her brothers for drives; some are to a nearby town and others extend farther to visit notable bridges or to buy school clothes. When Aunt Odessa visits from New York City, she regales her loved ones with tales of city life and subways. Later, Nann takes fun trips to New York, as well as to Washington, D.C. Clare presents an effective story about how a supportive family can makes all the difference when one is pursuing one’s dreams. Alderson’s realistic, full-color pastel illustrations are skillfully done and will engage readers as they follow the events of the text. The pages contain somewhat more text than is typical for picture books, but the book’s design and layout generally work well with the images.

A pleasant, family-oriented tale of expanding one’s horizons.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9798986428017

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Ink to Legacy Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2024

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THERE'S A ROCK CONCERT IN MY BEDROOM

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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