An enjoyable, vividly illustrated story with an evergreen message.


Two pieces of fruit swap places in Kearney’s debut picture book.

As it hangs on a tree, an apple watches boats pass by on the ocean, but it can’t hear the water over the sounds of rustling leaves and branches. Meanwhile, a pineapple growing in a nearby field hears the sea, but its view is blocked by “tough leaves.” The fruits both wish upon a star “for what the other [fruit] had”; in the morning, they’ve switched locations. At first, they enjoy their fresh perspectives; the pineapple “felt the wind and watched the sea,” and the apple “listened to the joyful sound of the ocean waves.” However, the apple eventually turns soggy, and the pineapple becomes dehydrated. They wish upon another shooting star so that they may return to their homes; the next morning, they’re each back in their original locations, where they thrive. The story emphasizes natural sights and sounds as it encourages youngsters not only to seek new experiences, but also to appreciate what they have. Kedzierski’s scenic, full-color illustrations are dreamy and serene; the picturesque backgrounds feature gradient sunsets and multihued waters, and the fruits in the foreground have expressive faces. Others images incorporate realistic greenery and creatures such as butterflies, snails, and a fox.

An enjoyable, vividly illustrated story with an evergreen message.

Pub Date: March 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-73307-050-8

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Wood Acres Press

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2021

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As insubstantial as hot air.


A diverse cast of children first makes a fleet of hot air balloons and then takes to the sky in them.

Lifestyle maven Gaines uses this activity as a platform to celebrate diversity in learning and working styles. Some people like to work together; others prefer a solo process. Some take pains to plan extensively; others know exactly what they want and jump right in. Some apply science; others demonstrate artistic prowess. But “see how beautiful it can be when / our differences share the same sky?” Double-page spreads leading up to this moment of liftoff are laid out such that rhyming abcb quatrains typically contain one or two opposing concepts: “Some of us are teachers / and share what we know. / But all of us are learners. / Together is how we grow!” In the accompanying illustration, a bespectacled, Asian-presenting child at a blackboard lectures the other children on “balloon safety.” Gaines’ text has the ring of sincerity, but the sentiment is hardly an original one, and her verse frequently sacrifices scansion for rhyme. Sometimes it abandons both: “We may not look / or work or think the same, / but we all have an / important part to play.” Swaney’s delicate, pastel-hued illustrations do little to expand on the text, but they are pretty. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11.2-by-18.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 70.7% of actual size.)

As insubstantial as hot air. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4003-1423-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tommy Nelson

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2021

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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.


All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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