Encouraging the dreamer in every reader.

READ REVIEW

DREAM

WITH SESAME STREET

From the Sesame Street Scribbles series

Readers will follow their dreams when familiar Sesame Street characters, in dreamy pastels against faint outlined scenes, cheer them on.

The journey begins with defining that dream (“A dream can be big or a dream can be small. / What matters the most is to have dreams at all. / Ambitious, creative, outrageous, concrete, / or close to your heart, something simple and sweet”) and taking that scary first step. Grover, Oscar the Grouch, and Zoe offer counsel on dealing with failure (“remember you grow when you get through bad days”) and rejection (“Even if others may not think it’s best, / the road to success is your own special quest” and “You always can ask a good friend for advice, / and working together sure does feel nice!”). And of course, Cookie Monster knows “cookies and milk sweep the gray clouds away / and bring you right back to a bright sunny day.” No matter what, Bert and Ernie remind readers “if your dream seems as if it will never come true, / keep in mind you’re surrounded by those who love you.” A closing wish “that all of your dreams will come true” makes this a very positive rhyming read-aloud even if there are a few near rhymes and lines where the meter isn’t perfect.

Encouraging the dreamer in every reader. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-9500-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history.

THE SCARECROW

Ferry and the Fans portray a popular seasonal character’s unlikely friendship.

Initially, the protagonist is shown in his solitary world: “Scarecrow stands alone and scares / the fox and deer, / the mice and crows. / It’s all he does. It’s all he knows.” His presence is effective; the animals stay outside the fenced-in fields, but the omniscient narrator laments the character’s lack of friends or places to go. Everything changes when a baby crow falls nearby. Breaking his pole so he can bend, the scarecrow picks it up, placing the creature in the bib of his overalls while singing a lullaby. Both abandon natural tendencies until the crow learns to fly—and thus departs. The aabb rhyme scheme flows reasonably well, propelling the narrative through fall, winter, and spring, when the mature crow returns with a mate to build a nest in the overalls bib that once was his home. The Fan brothers capture the emotional tenor of the seasons and the main character in their panoramic pencil, ballpoint, and digital compositions. Particularly poignant is the close-up of the scarecrow’s burlap face, his stitched mouth and leaf-rimmed head conveying such sadness after his companion goes. Some adults may wonder why the scarecrow seems to have only partial agency, but children will be tuned into the problem, gratified by the resolution.

A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-247576-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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THIS BOOK IS GRAY

A gray character tries to write an all-gray book.

The six primary and secondary colors are building a rainbow, each contributing the hue of their own body, and Gray feels forlorn and left out because rainbows contain no gray. So Gray—who, like the other characters, has a solid, triangular body, a doodle-style face, and stick limbs—sets off alone to create “the GRAYest book ever.” His book inside a book shows a peaceful gray cliff house near a gray sea with gentle whitecaps; his three gray characters—hippo, wolf, kitten—wait for their arc to begin. But then the primaries arrive and call the gray scene “dismal, bleak, and gloomy.” The secondaries show up too, and soon everyone’s overrunning Gray’s creation. When Gray refuses to let White and Black participate, astute readers will note the flaw: White and black (the colors) had already been included in the early all-gray spreads. Ironically, Gray’s book within a book displays calm, passable art while the metabook’s unsubtle illustrations and sloppy design make for cramped and crowded pages that are too busy to hold visual focus. The speech-bubble dialogue’s snappy enough (Blue calls people “dude,” and there are puns). A convoluted moral muddles the core artistic question—whether a whole book can be gray—and instead highlights a trite message about working together.

Low grade. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4340-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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