Appendix aside, this tender, well-crafted sibling story should hook many readers.

GONE FISHING

A NOVEL IN VERSE

A playful verse narrative of the joys and perils of a family fishing trip.

In her poetic debut for primary graders, Wissinger tells the sweet domestic tale of a much-anticipated family outing from the viewpoints of young Sam, sister Lucy and Dad. Sam eagerly looks forward to fishing solo with his father—“It’ll be like playing catch or / painting the garage. / Just Dad and me. / Fishing”—when younger sis Lucy horns in and threatens to ruin the fun. First, Lucy disturbs the contents of Sam’s tackle box, then renders Sam despondent when her singing helps her catch a handful of fish even before Sam has caught one. But the trip vastly improves for Sam when he lands a sizable catfish, leading Lucy to gush with pride for him. The resolution to this muted sibling-rivalry plot is reached via a number of verse forms, from the kid-friendly acrostic, haiku and concrete poem to the purposefully silly double dactyl, a form so complex Wissinger admits her example here follows only in “spirit.” Alongside the poems, Cordell’s light yet expressive illustrations neatly capture the day’s shifting mood. Perhaps in a nod to teachers, Wissinger tacks on a note on writing poetry, adding definitions of literary terms and verse forms in language too sophisticated for many in the work’s intended audience.

Appendix aside, this tender, well-crafted sibling story should hook many readers.   (bibliography) (Verse fiction. 5-9)

Pub Date: March 5, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-82011-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2013

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Heartfelt content for children who need to feel seen.

BEING YOU

Words addressed to children aimed at truth-telling, encouraging, and inspiring are accompanied by pictures of children of color going about their days.

“This story is about you,” the narrator opens, as a black boy looks up toward readers, a listening expression on his face. A multiracial group of children romp in a playground to encouraging words: “you are… / a dancer / a singer / in charge of the game.” Then comes a warning about the “whispers” out in the world that “tell you who you are / But only you and love decide.” There is advice about what to do when you “think there is nowhere safe”: “Watch a bird soar / and think, / Me too.” It asks readers to wonder: “If there was a sign on your chest / what would it say?” Children argue and show frustration and anger for reasons unclear to readers, then they hold up signs about themselves, such as “I am powerful” and “I am talented.” A girl looks hurt, and a boy looks “tough” until someone finds them “sitting there wondering / when the sky will blue.” While the words are general, the pictures specify a teacher, who is brown-skinned with straight black hair, as one who “can see you.” While young readers may find the wording unusual, even obscure in places, the nurturing message will not be lost.

Heartfelt content for children who need to feel seen. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68446-021-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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Well-meaning and with a lovely presentation, this sentimental effort may be aimed more at adults than kids.

MY LITTLE BRAVE GIRL

Little girls are given encouragement and assurance so they can meet the challenges of life as they move through the big, wide world.

Delicately soft watercolor-style art depicts naturalistic scenes with a diverse quintet of little girls portraying potential situations they will encounter, as noted by a narrative heavily dependent on a series of clichés. “The stars are high, and you can reach them,” it promises as three of the girls chase fireflies under a star-filled night sky. “Oceans run deep, and you will learn to swim,” it intones as one girl treads water and another leans over the edge of a boat to observe life on the ocean floor. “Your feet will take many steps, my brave little girl. / Let your heart lead the way.” Girls gingerly step across a brook before making their way through a meadow. The point of all these nebulous metaphors seems to be to inculcate in girls the independence, strength, and confidence they’ll need to succeed in their pursuits. Trying new things, such as foods, is a “delicious new adventure.” Though the quiet, gentle text is filled with uplifting words that parents will intuitively relate to or comprehend, the esoteric messages may be a bit sentimental and ambiguous for kids to understand or even connect to. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.5-by-19-inch double-page spreads viewed at 50% of actual size.)

Well-meaning and with a lovely presentation, this sentimental effort may be aimed more at adults than kids. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-30072-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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