A delightful depiction of the ability of children to find joy regardless of atmospheric conditions.

READ REVIEW

THIS BEAUTIFUL DAY

With colors and compositions conceived to celebrate the allure of water, the book jacket and opening scenes immediately recall Lee’s The Wave (2008).

Three bored children, stuck inside while it pours, are rendered in pencil, with paper-white skin. When the boy turns on the radio, blue swirls of music animate the space; even the stuffed rabbit’s ears perk up. As dance connects music and water, the children skip out into the puddles. Jackson’s words wisely allow room for Lee’s imagination. He makes no reference to rain; that interpretation of a “beautiful day” is the illustrator’s. The story is propelled by the author’s spirited verses, featuring internal and end-of-line rhymes that scan with only an occasional bump: “This beautiful day… / so great for parading, // for cartwheeling fun / or hiding / and seeking // or gliding / and sliding / in this marigold sun.” Listeners will track the momentum of these kinetic kids as they swing from trees with friends, parachuting back to earth with umbrellas à la Mary Poppins. Digitally manipulated acrylics in summery shades fill the pages as the day brightens, offering another take on the title. Popsicles, paired with an e.e. cummings–esque arrangement of “doodly-doo”s and parenthetical bodily sounds, relax this jazzy, pizzazz-y romp—until the wind whips up.

A delightful depiction of the ability of children to find joy regardless of atmospheric conditions. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-4139-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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It’s gratifying to see Lola’s love of books leading her to new experiences.

LOLA PLANTS A GARDEN

From the Lola & Leo series

Hoping to have a garden like the one in her poetry book, Lola plants seeds, waits and weeds, and finally celebrates with friends.

The author and illustrator of Lola Loves Stories (2010) and its companion titles take their appealing character outside. Inspired by her favorite poem, the nursery rhyme “Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary” (repeated on the front endpapers), Lola chooses her favorite flowers from library books. Helped by her parents, she grows a grandly diverse flower garden, just right for a celebration with peas and strawberries from the family plot. Beardshaw’s acrylic illustrations show her garden in all its stages. They also show the copper-toned preschooler reading on her mother’s lap, making a flower book, a beaded string with bells and shells, a little Mary Mary doll and cupcakes for the celebration. Her bunchy ponytails are redone, and her flower shirt is perfect for the party. Not only has she provided the setting; she makes up a story for her friends. The simple sentences of the text and charming pictures make this a good choice for reading aloud or early reading alone. On the rear endpapers, the nursery rhyme has been adapted to celebrate “Lola, Lola, Extraordinary.”

It’s gratifying to see Lola’s love of books leading her to new experiences. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-58089-694-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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A quiet, warm look at the bond between grandfather and grandson.

MAX AND THE TAG-ALONG MOON

After a visit, an African-American grandfather and grandson say farewell under a big yellow moon. Granpa tells Max it is the same moon he will see when he gets home.

This gently told story uses Max’s fascination with the moon’s ability to “tag along” where his family’s car goes as a metaphor for his grandfather’s constant love. Separating the two relatives is “a swervy-curvy road” that travels up and down hills, over a bridge, “past a field of sleeping cows,” around a small town and through a tunnel. No matter where Max travels, the moon is always there, waiting around a curve or peeking through the trees. But then “[d]ark clouds tumbled across the night sky.” No stars, no nightingales and no moon are to be found. Max frets: “Granpa said it would always shine for me.” Disappointed, Max climbs into bed, missing both the moon and his granpa. In a dramatic double-page spread, readers see Max’s excitement as “[s]lowly, very slowly, Max’s bedroom began to fill with a soft yellow glow.” Cooper uses his signature style to illustrate both the landscape—sometimes viewed from the car windows or reflected in the vehicle’s mirror—and the expressive faces of his characters. Coupled with the story’s lyrical text, this is a lovely mood piece.

A quiet, warm look at the bond between grandfather and grandson. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-399-23342-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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