Visually, there’s much to enjoy, but ultimately the narrative never quite soars.

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LITTLE PLANE

A rough-and-tumble little plane explores the world.

Zooming about, bright fuchsia and gray against jade-green sky, Little Plane is raring for adventure. Gomi perfectly encapsulates the plane’s essence with simple shapes and chunky black outlines and still manages to make Little Plane look light and airy. Like most youngsters, Little Plane encounters turbulence while playing, getting dirty and bouncing back from several failed attempts at landing atop trees or on a slick, muddy mountain. This initial narrative, of getting messy and resiliently getting up after failing, is ideal for toddlers, especially with the narrator and warmly personified trees, buildings, and rocks watching over and admonishing the aircraft to “be careful” or to “try again.” Unfortunately, the narrative veers away from this smooth flight path when the plane spots a cream-colored building with a cavernous gaping mouth and ponders entering. The narrator’s strangely ambivalent statement that “it’s up to you, little plane” isn’t especially reassuring, and it looks disconcertingly as though Little Plane is being eaten. As our hero emerges, mysteriously clean and ready to fly home, puzzled readers will wonder what happened—is there such a thing as a plane wash? Additionally, ending the story before the return to the safe embrace of a loved one makes it feel unfinished; his journey isn’t over yet.

Visually, there’s much to enjoy, but ultimately the narrative never quite soars. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7450-1

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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Wonderful, indeed

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THE WONDERFUL THINGS YOU WILL BE

A GROWING-UP POEM

A love song to baby with delightful illustrations to boot.

Sweet but not saccharine and singsong but not forced, Martin’s text is one that will invite rereadings as it affirms parental wishes for children while admirably keeping child readers at its heart. The lines that read “This is the first time / There’s ever been you, / So I wonder what wonderful things / You will do” capture the essence of the picture book and are accompanied by a diverse group of babies and toddlers clad in downright adorable outfits. Other spreads include older kids, too, and pictures expand on the open text to visually interpret the myriad possibilities and hopes for the depicted children. For example, a spread reading “Will you learn how to fly / To find the best view?” shows a bespectacled, school-aged girl on a swing soaring through an empty white background. This is just one spread in which Martin’s fearless embrace of the white of the page serves her well. Throughout the book, she maintains a keen balance of layout choices, and surprising details—zebras on the wallpaper behind a father cradling his child, a rock-’n’-roll band of mice paralleling the children’s own band called “The Missing Teeth”—add visual interest and gentle humor. An ideal title for the baby-shower gift bag and for any nursery bookshelf or lap-sit storytime.

Wonderful, indeed . (Picture book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37671-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2015

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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