Naberhaus and Nelson give new life to Old Glory for the youngest of readers

READ REVIEW

BLUE SKY WHITE STARS

Sparsely worded and rich in symbols, this oversize picture book speaks boldly, both visually and textually.

From the beginning, Nelson’s artistically vibrant images make clear associations between the elements of the American flag and both what they symbolize and the diverse cast of individuals who have contributed, in the past and present, to the freedoms we all enjoy as Americans. Naberhaus’ paired homophones, when considered with the illustrations, echo historical truths. For instance, “Sew together / Won nation,” with a young Betsy Ross sewing the first flag, appears across the gutter from “So together / One nation,” with a crowd of Americans displaying different ethnic, racial, gender, and age markers looking directly at readers. At every point, Naberhaus and Nelson claim America’s multiculturalism and pluralism as assets. Although some might consider this book patriotically didactic, its reliance on symbols leaves much for readers to fill in with their own knowledge and experience. And while this text would probably have been well-received at any time in the past, many adult and child readers will warmly welcome the way it embraces the idea of “e pluribus unum” at this particular historical moment. Notes from the author and illustrator and additional notes on the author’s website about the book provide extra material for classroom discussions.

Naberhaus and Nelson give new life to Old Glory for the youngest of readers . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 13, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3700-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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Sweet, but like marshmallow chicks, just a bit of fluff.

THE LITTLEST EASTER BUNNY

From the Littlest series

The smallest bunny in Easter Town finds that she and her little chick friend are big enough to help the Easter Bunny prepare for the annual Easter egg hunt.

In the fifth entry in the Littlest series, Penny the bunny wants to help get ready for Easter. All the rabbits in her family are busy with their special jobs, getting eggs, candy, and baskets in order, but little Penny seems too small or clumsy to be of any help. Her parents and siblings try to let her assist them, but she falls into a vat of dye, spills marshmallow goo, gets tangled in the strands of a basket, and fails to fill even one Easter basket. Feeling dejected, Penny befriends a tiny chick named Peck. With the help of Penny’s family, Penny and Peck make miniature treats and petite baskets suitable to their own size. When the Easter Bunny’s main helpers fall ill, Penny and Peck convince the Easter Bunny that their small size will help them do the best job of finding spots to hide eggs as well as their own tiny basket creations. This too-pat conclusion doesn’t quite hold up to logical analysis, as the full-size eggs and baskets are still too large for Penny and Peck to handle. Bland cartoon illustrations are filled with bunnies in candy-bright pastels with a greeting-card cuteness quotient.

Sweet, but like marshmallow chicks, just a bit of fluff. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-32912-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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Love can be shared in so many ways; reading this together is a start.

LOLA DUTCH I LOVE YOU SO MUCH

Lola Dutch has many ways of communicating her love to her friends.

When each of her anthropomorphic animal friends starts the day grumpy, Lola (a human girl) knows just what to do, and readers of Gary Chapman’s popular 5 Love Languages books will recognize them. She sews cozy pajamas for chilly Gator (receiving gifts), arranges Crane’s strewn-about books in a “Book Nook” (acts of service), organizes an outing to the park for Pig (quality time), and gives Bear a hug (physical touch). In return, her four friends celebrate just how much they appreciate and love her with a banner and a cake (words of affirmation). The rear copyright page includes a small, easily overlooked paragraph citing the book’s inspiration and asking readers how they feel loved and show love to their friends. No information is given about how to determine which love language to use in different situations or with different people. The loosely outlined illustrations are a delight because of the expressive characters and Lola Dutch’s infectious exuberance. Lola is pale-skinned with a brown pageboy. The dust jacket unfolds to show a party scene, Bear and Crane preprinted on the page. Lola Dutch and Gator are paper dolls that can be cut out along with a loving note to share with someone special. Pig is absent.

Love can be shared in so many ways; reading this together is a start. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 31, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0117-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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