Pull this out on the next rainy day and have boots, slickers, and boat at the ready.

AFTER THE RAIN

A young boy who longs to play with his toy boat is thrilled when the rain stops and the gutters and downspouts gush.

Levi watches from his nautically decorated bedroom as the last drops of rain fall, quickly donning his yellow raincoat, boots, and hat and grabbing his boat when he spies the water overflowing the gutters. Krüger mixes wide-angle views with vignettes and close-up, ground-level perspectives to get readers right into the action with Levi as he stomps through puddles. The river of water from the downspout to the drain in the sidewalk provides endless fun for the boy and his toy boat…until Polly arrives and claims the stream as her own. The angry visage on the tot, who wears a raindrop-decorated poncho and red boots, sets the stage for a battle that involves splashes and tossed mud, expressions speaking volumes. But when both kids realize the water is drying up, they call a truce and set about creating a mud, rock, leaf, and stick dam. The subsequent lake is a great place to play: “Battle begun but not won. // Building together is much more fun.” The imagination on display will inspire readers, though the battle’s end is more serendipitous than strategic and won’t teach kids much in the way of problem-solving. Levi is dark skinned, Polly light.

Pull this out on the next rainy day and have boots, slickers, and boat at the ready. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5064-5451-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Beaming Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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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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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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