Would that every kid had an imagination like Livi’s so that getting ready for school was always this much fun.

ON MY WAY TO SCHOOL

Livi, that master of imagination who finds ingenious ways to make transition times fun, must tackle getting ready for school in the morning.

As in other books about Livi’s dawdling (On My Way to Bed, 2013, etc.), her mother’s voice is a speech bubble originating off the page, this time prompting her step by step to get ready for school. Livi is a slow snail oozing out of bed. She is a pirate digging for pirate booty (or just something to cover her own booty). She is a chef at breakfast, an elephant warning her sister away from the watering hole where she brushes her teeth, a Sherpa climbing Everest with a gigantic backpack, a kangaroo playing hopscotch. When the bus arrives, it’s a covered wagon, until the page turn, when it’s back to a bus, and Livi is back to Livi…until she sees her best friend, and her imagination once again takes flight. Livi does finally make it to school, where, while she continues to fantasize, she is a proper pupil. Paraskevas’ digital artwork truly captures an inventive young girl whose spirit cannot be contained or squashed, and Livi’s tongue-in-cheek comments are sure to provoke a chuckle or two from parents and children alike.

Would that every kid had an imagination like Livi’s so that getting ready for school was always this much fun. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8027-3700-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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A cozy story that will transport readers to faraway places.

A GIFT FOR NANA

All gifts are perfect when they come from the heart.

Rabbit goes on a “journey through a green and grand forest” in order to get a gift for his nana even though it is “not even a major hare holiday.” He travels very far in search of the perfect gift and encounters many new friends whom he asks for help. Each of them proffers Rabbit something they can easily make or acquire: The moon offers a “crescent smile,” a whale proposes a glass of water, and so on. Ultimately, Rabbit finds the perfect gift for Nana all on his own, and his nana absolutely adores it. Although the story is a bit predictable, it is amusing—readers will laugh at the anthropomorphic volcano’s explosion and Rabbit’s exhaustion from his journey, among other chucklesome scenes. Smith’s gesso, oil, and cold wax illustrations are exquisite and almost ethereal. The friendly, many-eyed creature referred to as a “stickler” is at once haunting and intriguing. The moon is Tim Burton–esque and seems to glow and pop off the page. Pleased with his choice of gift, Rabbit has the moon’s smile on his face. The predominance of full-bleed double-page spreads accentuates Rabbit’s long quest. The different font sizes, styles, and colors will aid emerging readers with diction when reading aloud but might prove difficult for those with dyslexia. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A cozy story that will transport readers to faraway places. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-43033-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House Studio

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2022

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