THE SUN, THE MOON, AND THE STARS

Warm and bright.

A lyrical ode to the children.

The speaker remains unidentified in second-person text, which addresses three children in turn as “you” while also implying child readers. Soft-focus illustrations lend specificity by placing each child in the context of family and interests. First is a child of color in a family that appears to be composed of an Asian father, White mother, Asian grandmother, and biracial younger sibling. The narrator assures the child that “You are like the sun… / rising every day / with your energy and light.” The illustrations depict the child in a bright yellow dress, singing and dancing for the family and then taking the stage before a crowd while yellow confetti falls from the sky and a white dove swoops overhead. Next is a blond, White child who is “like the moon… / sometimes full and big, / sometimes new and small.” This child is depicted as an animal lover doting on a family of kittens they find in a box and bring home to parents and two siblings, all of whom present as White. Finally, a Black-presenting child is likened to “the stars in the night sky, / lighting the way for all to see— / even on their darkest night.” This child wears aviator goggles and plays with a toy airplane as mother and father, both also Black, encourage their offspring’s interest by gazing at the sky as a family before the child takes flight.(This book was reviewed digitally.)

Warm and bright. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-30937-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

A KISSING HAND FOR CHESTER RACCOON

From the Kissing Hand series

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original...

A sweetened, condensed version of the best-selling picture book, The Kissing Hand.

As in the original, Chester Raccoon is nervous about attending Owl’s night school (raccoons are nocturnal). His mom kisses him on the paw and reminds him, “With a Kissing Hand… / We’ll never be apart.” The text boils the story down to its key elements, causing this version to feel rushed. Gone is the list of fun things Chester will get to do at school. Fans of the original may be disappointed that this board edition uses a different illustrator. Gibson’s work is equally sentimental, but her renderings are stiff and flat in comparison to the watercolors of Harper and Leak. Very young readers will probably not understand that Owl’s tree, filled with opossums, a squirrel, a chipmunk and others, is supposed to be a school.

Parents of toddlers starting school or day care should seek separation-anxiety remedies elsewhere, and fans of the original shouldn’t look to this version as replacement for their page-worn copies. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-933718-77-4

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Tanglewood Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

PERFECTLY NORMAN

From the Big Bright Feelings series

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance.

A boy with wings learns to be himself and inspires others like him to soar, too.

Norman, a “perfectly normal” boy, never dreamed he might grow wings. Afraid of what his parents might say, he hides his new wings under a big, stuffy coat. Although the coat hides his wings from the world, Norman no longer finds joy in bathtime, playing at the park, swimming, or birthday parties. With the gentle encouragement of his parents, who see his sadness, Norman finds the courage to come out of hiding and soar. Percival (The Magic Looking Glass, 2017, etc.) depicts Norman with light skin and dark hair. Black-and-white illustrations show his father with dark skin and hair and his mother as white. The contrast of black-and-white illustrations with splashes of bright color complements the story’s theme. While Norman tries to be “normal,” the world and people around him look black and gray, but his coat stands out in yellow. Birds pop from the page in pink, green, and blue, emphasizing the joy and beauty of flying free. The final spread, full of bright color and multiracial children in flight, sets the mood for Norman’s realization on the last page that there is “no such thing as perfectly normal,” but he can be “perfectly Norman.”

A heartwarming story about facing fears and acceptance. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68119-785-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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