A perky paean to the joys of literacy, with a bit of library love thrown in for good measure.

YOKO LEARNS TO READ

Wells’ winsome kitten experiences a milestone sure to bring smiles to the faces of teachers and librarians everywhere.

Learning to read is a momentous development in a child’s life, but it can be difficult to depict in an interesting way. Luckily, previous familiarity with Yoko’s can-do spirit should ensure that readers will be rooting for this clever kitten. Like her classmates, Yoko yearns to see her name on the “book tree” at school. She gets credit for the three stories that she and her mother share at home but despairs of adding any more. Her mother only reads Japanese, and, oddly, they own just the three books. A trip to the library solves at least one of these problems, and Yoko’s determination carries her along as she sounds out words and uses pictures to predict plot. Cross-cultural details add interest: sushi for dinner, cozy on-the-floor seating at the tea table and the fact that books in Japanese read back to front. The final picture shows Yoko beginning to teach her mother the English alphabet. As always, Wells’ illustrations enchant. Oil pastels and collage showcase rich colors and beautiful designs, evocative of traditional origami papers, while emotions shine through the characters’ expressive eyes and energetic body language.

A perky paean to the joys of literacy, with a bit of library love thrown in for good measure. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4231-3823-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Dec. 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

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. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Clever verse coupled with bold primary-colored images is sure to attract and hone the attention of fun-seeking children...

TOYS GALORE

A fizzy yet revealing romp through the toy world.

Though of standard picture-book size, Stein and illustrator Staake’s latest collaboration (Bugs Galore, 2012, etc.) presents a sweeping compendium of diversions for the young. From fairies and gnomes, race cars and jacks, tin cans and socks, to pots ’n’ pans and a cardboard box, Stein combs the toy kingdom for equally thrilling sources of fun. These light, tightly rhymed quatrains focus nicely on the functions characterizing various objects, such as “Floaty, bubbly, / while-you-wash toys” or “Sharing-secrets- / with-tin-cans toys,” rather than flatly stating their names. Such ambiguity at once offers Staake free artistic rein to depict copious items capable of performing those tasks and provides pre-readers ample freedom to draw from the experiences of their own toy chests as they scan Staake’s vibrant spreads brimming with chunky, digitally rendered objects and children at play. The sense of community and sharing suggested by most of the spreads contributes well to Stein’s ultimate theme, which he frames by asking: “But which toy is / the best toy ever? / The one most fun? / Most cool and clever?” Faced with three concluding pages filled with all sorts of indoor and outside toys to choose from, youngsters may be shocked to learn, on turning to the final spread, that the greatest one of all—“a toy SENSATION!”—proves to be “[y]our very own / imagination.”

Clever verse coupled with bold primary-colored images is sure to attract and hone the attention of fun-seeking children everywhere. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6254-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more