The tale is an adequate discussion starter on conservation of natural resources but not so great a story.

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THAT'S WHAT FRIENDS ARE FOR

A resourceful badger helps his friends find water in a tale of conservation and cooperation.

One hot summer day, Badger is fixing Rabbit's umbrella when Mouse reports that the stream is dry. Hedgehog worries about his flowers, and Mouse (though she and the other animals are naked) worries about her laundry. Practical Badger wonders what they'll drink. The rounded, button-eyed animals pool what water they have and travel the forest in search of more, sharing their supply with frogs rendered homeless by the dry pond. In a double-page spread that requires a 90-degree rotation, they trudge until they discover a boulder blocking a mountain pool from flowing downstream. Aided by his friends—even the smallest frog—Badger uses a branch as a lever and dislodges the boulder. The rains finally come after the water flows downstream, and the animals praise Badger for the rain barrels he has abruptly constructed. The messages of generosity and teamwork are laudable, but the characters are generic; except for Badger's problem-solving skills, the animals have no distinguishing traits. Chiew's simple text and Pedler's soft, bright illustrations are gentle but bland. For equally simple but more engaging tales of helpful animal friends, Alice Schertle and Jill McElmurry's Little Blue Truck (2008) or Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman's Bear Feels Sick (2007) would come in handy.

The tale is an adequate discussion starter on conservation of natural resources but not so great a story. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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A valuable asset to the library of a child who experiences anxiety and a great book to get children talking about their...

RUBY FINDS A WORRY

Ruby is an adventurous and happy child until the day she discovers a Worry.

Ruby barely sees the Worry—depicted as a blob of yellow with a frowny unibrow—at first, but as it hovers, the more she notices it and the larger it grows. The longer Ruby is affected by this Worry, the fewer colors appear on the page. Though she tries not to pay attention to the Worry, which no one else can see, ignoring it prevents her from enjoying the things that she once loved. Her constant anxiety about the Worry causes the bright yellow blob to crowd Ruby’s everyday life, which by this point is nearly all washes of gray and white. But at the playground, Ruby sees a boy sitting on a bench with a growing sky-blue Worry of his own. When she invites the boy to talk, his Worry begins to shrink—and when Ruby talks about her own Worry, it also grows smaller. By the book’s conclusion, Ruby learns to control her Worry by talking about what worries her, a priceless lesson for any child—or adult—conveyed in a beautifully child-friendly manner. Ruby presents black, with hair in cornrows and two big afro-puff pigtails, while the boy has pale skin and spiky black hair.

A valuable asset to the library of a child who experiences anxiety and a great book to get children talking about their feelings . (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0237-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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An unfortunately simplistic delivery of a well-intentioned message.

I'LL WALK WITH YOU

Drawing on lyrics from her Mormon children’s hymn of the same title, Pearson explores diversity and acceptance in a more secular context.

Addressing people of varying ages, races, origins, and abilities in forced rhymes that omit the original version’s references to Jesus, various speakers describe how they—unlike “some people”—will “show [their] love for” their fellow humans. “If you don’t talk as most people do / some people talk and laugh at you,” a child tells a tongue-tied classmate. “But I won’t! / I won’t! / I’ll talk with you / and giggle too. / That’s how I’ll show my love for you.” Unfortunately, many speakers’ actions feel vague and rather patronizing even as they aim to include and reassure. “I know you bring such interesting things,” a wheelchair user says, welcoming a family “born far, far away” who arrives at the airport; the adults wear Islamic clothing. As pink- and brown-skinned worshipers join a solitary brown-skinned person who somehow “[doesn’t] pray as some people pray” on a church pew, a smiling, pink-skinned worshiper’s declaration that “we’re all, I see, one family” raises echoes of the problematic assertion, “I don’t see color.” The speakers’ exclamations of “But I won’t!” after noting others’ prejudiced behavior reads more as self-congratulation than promise of inclusion. Sanders’ geometric, doll-like human figures are cheery but stiff, and the text’s bold, uppercase typeface switches jarringly to cursive for the refrain, “That’s how I’ll show my love for you.” Characters’ complexions include paper-white, yellow, pink, and brown.

An unfortunately simplistic delivery of a well-intentioned message. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4236-5395-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Gibbs Smith

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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