With wonderfully realistic colored-pencil images and a kid-friendly text, this highly entertaining tale explores the notion...

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A debut picture book introduces concepts of Aristotelian logic that can help children learn how to better define the inhabitants and aspects of their world.

Beginning with the title words and a detailed illustration of a mother duck with her ducklings, this tale examines two groups: ducks and birds. On the next page, accompanied by the image of a honking goose so lifelike the reader can almost hear it, author and illustrator Zrinski writes: “All geese are birds, / but, no geese are ducks.” She continues that swans are also birds but not ducks, using this example to clarify the concept before moving on to something more complex: all of those birds can fly, but does that mean all birds have that ability? Savvy young readers will already know the answer and should be pleased that they’re correct when they see the cheerful-looking, earthbound ostriches on the next page. Zrinski then points out that all birds have feathers, including penguins (who also cannot fly), and asks readers to compare penguins and puffins, who look similar—they’re black and white—but are quite distinct. After establishing that some birds can fly and others can’t in her amusing story, Zrinski looks at whether they all can swim, given that so many of the creatures mentioned are swimmers. But not ostriches! (“No! Ostriches do not swim / Some ostriches sit in puddles / Sitting in puddles is not swimming.”) Yet all birds lay eggs. By offering all of these concrete details and asking children to think about how the birds relate to one another using an approachable, kid-friendly vocabulary, the text will likely have independent and lap readers and parent-child teams eagerly answering Zrinski’s questions and making their guesses and comparisons about these feathered friends. Parents may see how such assessments teach children to consider the big picture, comparing not just birds, but other animals or, beyond that, shapes, genres of fiction, or social groups. The application is far-ranging, but children may learn the building blocks from sheer enjoyment rather than considering these useful points formal lessons.

With wonderfully realistic colored-pencil images and a kid-friendly text, this highly entertaining tale explores the notion of groups, showing the attributes of different types of birds.

Pub Date: Nov. 11, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5049-6010-6

Page Count: 44

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Jan. 31, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity.


A collection of parental wishes for a child.

It starts out simply enough: two children run pell-mell across an open field, one holding a high-flying kite with the line “I wish you more ups than downs.” But on subsequent pages, some of the analogous concepts are confusing or ambiguous. The line “I wish you more tippy-toes than deep” accompanies a picture of a boy happily swimming in a pool. His feet are visible, but it's not clear whether he's floating in the deep end or standing in the shallow. Then there's a picture of a boy on a beach, his pockets bulging with driftwood and colorful shells, looking frustrated that his pockets won't hold the rest of his beachcombing treasures, which lie tantalizingly before him on the sand. The line reads: “I wish you more treasures than pockets.” Most children will feel the better wish would be that he had just the right amount of pockets for his treasures. Some of the wordplay, such as “more can than knot” and “more pause than fast-forward,” will tickle older readers with their accompanying, comical illustrations. The beautifully simple pictures are a sweet, kid- and parent-appealing blend of comic-strip style and fine art; the cast of children depicted is commendably multiethnic.

Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4521-2699-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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