Solid series additions that teach useful skills and the power of practice.

FREDA IS FOUND

From the I See I Learn series

Murphy’s I See I Learn visual learning series continues with two new titles for children that focus on the cognitive skill of name writing and strategies to stay safe when lost.

When Freda’s attention wanders to the toy store window, she stops to look, but her class keeps walking toward the firehouse. Lost, Freda must use all she has learned to help her teachers and classmates find her again. She stays calm, gets help from an adult and is able to tell that adult about herself—full name, address, phone number and school and teacher names. A final flow chart presents readers with these steps, and questions to the readers focus on “What if…” The scariness of being lost is ameliorated somewhat by the fact that most of the illustrations show the class within sight of Freda. In the simultaneously publishing Write On, Carlos (2011), Carlos asks his mom for help in learning to write his name. Over several days, readers can see that his practice is paying off as he progresses from being able to write “Car” to proudly writing his full name on paper, in sand and with chalk while his supportive friends watch. An alphabet chart at the bottom of many pages highlights the letters used to form the names, while the final question section asks readers what names they can write. The bright illustrations clearly show both the effort that Carlos is expending and his imperfect practice pages. 

Solid series additions that teach useful skills and the power of practice. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58089-462-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

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A simple story enhanced by its funny, gently ironic illustrations.

MY GOOD MORNING

A little girl diligently gets ready for her day but leaves lots of messes in her wake.

The unnamed girl has light brown skin and dark brown curls similar to her dad’s, and her mom is white. The characters in the digital illustrations have big, exaggerated eyes. The child narrates the text matter-of-factly in simple rhyming sentences: “Time to go potty. I can do this! / Mommy is there to make sure I don’t miss.” Each double-page spread presents a slightly different, humorous visual interpretation of the situation, and it’s in this juxtaposition that the book shines. The cat’s in the hamper, underwear and socks are on the floor, and the pink toilet paper is trailing all over. The two parents seem a little overwhelmed. As they both try to get the girl into her clothes, one arm escapes, and the dad is really sweating from exertion. She insists on tying her laces and buttoning her coat, and the illustrations show the exuberant but incomplete results. As the girl grabs her backpack, her apple rolls out, and Mommy has to grab it. At school, she hangs her coat up, but somehow it lands on the floor (her scarf is also awry), and observant viewers will notice that her shoelace is still untied. In her diverse classroom, she proudly announces: “But this time Daddy, I won’t cry”—and now readers can believe her: there’s nary a tear in sight.

A simple story enhanced by its funny, gently ironic illustrations. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: May 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-60537-342-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clavis

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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A visual feast for families interested in seeing the Native world through small, kind deeds.

WHEN WE ARE KIND

Distinctive illustrations amplify a pointed moral lesson in this Native picture book for kids.

An intergenerational Native family sits in a drum circle on the cover, suggesting the importance of cooperation and community that’s elucidated in the pages that follow. What does it mean to be kind to your family, your elders, your environment, and yourself? In simple, repetitive language, Smith (who is of mixed Cree, Lakota, and Scottish heritage) explores how our behaving with generosity toward others makes us feel happy in return. By helping with laundry, walking the family dog, sharing with friends, and taking food to our elders, we learn that the gift of kindness involves giving and receiving. The first half of the book is constructed entirely on the phrase “I am kind when,” while the second half uses “I feel.” Strung together, the simple statements have the resonance of affirmations and establish a clear chain of connectedness, but there is no story arc in the conventional sense. What the book lacks in plot, it makes up for with its illustrations. Drawing on her mother’s Diné traditions, Neidhardt prominently features Navajo hair buns, moccasins, and baskets; a panoply of Indigenous characters—including one child who uses a wheelchair—is featured in rich detail. A French edition, translated by Rachel Martinez, publishes simultaneously.

A visual feast for families interested in seeing the Native world through small, kind deeds. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4598-2522-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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