SNOW

With toys coming to life, all the fun in the snow, and the lovely child-grandparent relationship, this is a welcome addition...

With untouched snow outside, all a boy wants to do is to go to the park, but there is an obstacle.

While the boy gets ready, desperate to be the first child out in the snow, Granddad is reading in bed. He finally rises, but another child got there before him—and then a whole mob of them. Granddad insists on scarves and hats while putting on his own vest and tie. After all, decorum is important in this British import. While the child grows glum, bitterly remarking that even “all the cats and dogs were out there,” Granddad has the wit to observe that “the whole zoo was probably out there.” Little do they know that there is a menagerie having a snowball fight in a perfectly ordinary park. An elephant, a giraffe, and a walrus are among the participants, but the monkey and the penguin look familiar. Were they in the house? Usher uses large expanses of white space that increasingly show the traffic in the snow. His quirky ink-and-watercolor drawings are full of cavorting children and animals. A double-page spread depicting a calm elephant in a stocking hat, a girl and a frisky monkey perched on his tusks, is particularly amusing. Granddad looks wary, but he soon flings snowballs with the rest.

With toys coming to life, all the fun in the snow, and the lovely child-grandparent relationship, this is a welcome addition to the winter bookshelf. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7958-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Templar/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

THERE'S A ROCK CONCERT IN MY BEDROOM

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

CARRY MY HEART WITH YOU

Lackluster.

A parent and child introduce a way to make daily separations a bit easier.

At school drop-off, a parent rabbit comforts a sad child and hands the little one a heart-shaped object: “I’m giving you my heart to hold / whenever I’m not there.” The heart is meant to remind the child of the parent’s love, celebrate the things the child does well, calm worries, express joy, and watch over the child through the night. The book fails to spell out just how the heart does anything other than serve as a reminder of parental love, however. For instance, “Wave the heart above your head / to sing a happy song.” What’s the connection there? The heart is always in the child’s possession, even when the little bunny is with the parent, contradicting the opening premise that it’s for when the two are apart. Most troublingly, unlike a kissing hand, the wooden keepsake heart that comes with the book could easily be lost; with the statements that it’s the parent’s heart and that the love in the heart will never end, losing the token could be quite upsetting. The artwork features adorable cartoon anthropomorphic animals of various species, two of which use wheelchairs. The font sometimes fills in the centers of the lowercase g, o, a, and letters with hearts, which may cause difficulties for youngsters reading on their own or for those with dyslexia.

Lackluster. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9781680102970

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2023

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