Appealing to kids entranced with uniforms and vehicles but inconsequential to the rest.

READ REVIEW

OFFICER PETE

There is a minor mystery to be solved in this imported (uncredited) translation from the Dutch.

The chief of police sends Officer Pete to the post office with a letter marked “TOP SECRET.” As Pete leaves, a hook mysteriously lifts his police cap off his head. (Could it be from a fishing rod? The answer will be revealed later.) Pete and his trusty dog, Sniffer, spend the rest of the book searching for his hat throughout the small European community, using all the police vehicles at his disposal: a car, a motorcycle, and even a helicopter. He also dons an undercover disguise, but despite the visual clues planted for observant young readers in every double-page spread, Pete can’t seem to find his hat. His colleagues, spotted everywhere, are planning a special celebration for him, and many of the objects in the concluding party scene can be found in earlier pictures. In the colorful, animated cartoon-style illustrations, the town and the round-eyed, childlike police officers and other people resemble a Playmobil set; Pete and the chief of police are both white, but other residents of the town and one officer are people of color. Young readers may be engaged in the possibility of imaginative play with these community helpers, but the text is a bit long and wordy for the intended audience.

Appealing to kids entranced with uniforms and vehicles but inconsequential to the rest. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-60537-378-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clavis

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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A valuable asset to the library of a child who experiences anxiety and a great book to get children talking about their...

RUBY FINDS A WORRY

Ruby is an adventurous and happy child until the day she discovers a Worry.

Ruby barely sees the Worry—depicted as a blob of yellow with a frowny unibrow—at first, but as it hovers, the more she notices it and the larger it grows. The longer Ruby is affected by this Worry, the fewer colors appear on the page. Though she tries not to pay attention to the Worry, which no one else can see, ignoring it prevents her from enjoying the things that she once loved. Her constant anxiety about the Worry causes the bright yellow blob to crowd Ruby’s everyday life, which by this point is nearly all washes of gray and white. But at the playground, Ruby sees a boy sitting on a bench with a growing sky-blue Worry of his own. When she invites the boy to talk, his Worry begins to shrink—and when Ruby talks about her own Worry, it also grows smaller. By the book’s conclusion, Ruby learns to control her Worry by talking about what worries her, a priceless lesson for any child—or adult—conveyed in a beautifully child-friendly manner. Ruby presents black, with hair in cornrows and two big afro-puff pigtails, while the boy has pale skin and spiky black hair.

A valuable asset to the library of a child who experiences anxiety and a great book to get children talking about their feelings . (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0237-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history.

THE SCARECROW

Ferry and the Fans portray a popular seasonal character’s unlikely friendship.

Initially, the protagonist is shown in his solitary world: “Scarecrow stands alone and scares / the fox and deer, / the mice and crows. / It’s all he does. It’s all he knows.” His presence is effective; the animals stay outside the fenced-in fields, but the omniscient narrator laments the character’s lack of friends or places to go. Everything changes when a baby crow falls nearby. Breaking his pole so he can bend, the scarecrow picks it up, placing the creature in the bib of his overalls while singing a lullaby. Both abandon natural tendencies until the crow learns to fly—and thus departs. The aabb rhyme scheme flows reasonably well, propelling the narrative through fall, winter, and spring, when the mature crow returns with a mate to build a nest in the overalls bib that once was his home. The Fan brothers capture the emotional tenor of the seasons and the main character in their panoramic pencil, ballpoint, and digital compositions. Particularly poignant is the close-up of the scarecrow’s burlap face, his stitched mouth and leaf-rimmed head conveying such sadness after his companion goes. Some adults may wonder why the scarecrow seems to have only partial agency, but children will be tuned into the problem, gratified by the resolution.

A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-247576-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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