A gentle catalyst for crucial conversations about balancing digital diversions with real-life play as well as an...

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UNPLUGGED

Blip, a boxy little robot, loves plugging herself into her computer all day long.

Her cord connects her to a big screen that offers learning apps, blinking games, catchy music, and even pictures of lush landscapes. When a blackout and a tumble down the stairs somersault Blip out the front door, she’s suddenly in the gauzy light of the natural world. The small robot reels. Inside Blip’s house it’s dark—just stark blacks and whites. Outside, soft, spring pigments paint grassy hills, curvy tree trunks, scattered flowers, furry creatures, and a winding, sky-blue stream. Flipping back, readers might notice that Blip’s daily computer activity is depicted in vignettes that move incrementally across the page in linear rows, with square pixels assembling to generate crude computer-screen visuals. Blip’s dramatic immersion into the varied, curvy, colorful outdoors nudges readers to compare the two settings. Blip’s real-life play mirrors her virtual-play activities, except it now burbles with immediacy, spontaneity, and interactive fun with new, adorable animal friends (a wide-eyed bunny and baby-faced duck). Will Blip plug back in at the end of the day? Readers may doubt it, as they’ve decided to stay unplugged a little more themselves.

A gentle catalyst for crucial conversations about balancing digital diversions with real-life play as well as an introduction to self-guided critical thinking. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-18737-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2017

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It’s gratifying to see Lola’s love of books leading her to new experiences.

LOLA PLANTS A GARDEN

From the Lola & Leo series

Hoping to have a garden like the one in her poetry book, Lola plants seeds, waits and weeds, and finally celebrates with friends.

The author and illustrator of Lola Loves Stories (2010) and its companion titles take their appealing character outside. Inspired by her favorite poem, the nursery rhyme “Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary” (repeated on the front endpapers), Lola chooses her favorite flowers from library books. Helped by her parents, she grows a grandly diverse flower garden, just right for a celebration with peas and strawberries from the family plot. Beardshaw’s acrylic illustrations show her garden in all its stages. They also show the copper-toned preschooler reading on her mother’s lap, making a flower book, a beaded string with bells and shells, a little Mary Mary doll and cupcakes for the celebration. Her bunchy ponytails are redone, and her flower shirt is perfect for the party. Not only has she provided the setting; she makes up a story for her friends. The simple sentences of the text and charming pictures make this a good choice for reading aloud or early reading alone. On the rear endpapers, the nursery rhyme has been adapted to celebrate “Lola, Lola, Extraordinary.”

It’s gratifying to see Lola’s love of books leading her to new experiences. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-58089-694-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014

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Parent-child love and affection, appealingly presented, with the added attraction of the seasonal content and lack of gender...

I'LL LOVE YOU FOREVER

A polar-bear parent speaks poetically of love for a child.

A genderless adult and cub travel through the landscapes of an arctic year. Each of the softly rendered double-page paintings has a very different feel and color palette as the pair go through the seasons, walking through wintry ice and snow and green summer meadows, cavorting in the blue ocean, watching whales, and playing beside musk oxen. The rhymes of the four-line stanzas are not forced, as is the case too often in picture books of this type: “When cold, winter winds / blow the leaves far and wide, / You’ll cross the great icebergs / with me by your side.” On a dark, snowy night, the loving parent says: “But for now, cuddle close / while the stars softly shine. // I’ll always be yours, / and you’ll always be mine.” As the last illustration shows the pair curled up for sleep, young listeners will be lulled to sweet dreams by the calm tenor of the pictures and the words. While far from original, this timeless theme is always in demand, and the combination of delightful illustrations and poetry that scans well make this a good choice for early-childhood classrooms, public libraries, and one-on-one home read-alouds.

Parent-child love and affection, appealingly presented, with the added attraction of the seasonal content and lack of gender restrictions. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-68010-070-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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