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TEACHERS ROCK!

Sure to reassure readers nervous about their own teachers-to-be.

Parr turns his bold, vibrant colors and simple declarative sentences to teachers, looking at what they do and who they are.

Doubtless those just beginning school will get a positive view of teachers from Parr’s book. How can they help it when teachers do so much? From encouraging creativity and making you laugh to playing games, helping you do all sorts of new things, and taking you on field trips, there is not much that teachers do that isn’t covered (one teacher even hands a presumably snotty-nosed student a tissue, and another has paper towels for an accident). One scene is all too true for too many teachers: a smiling teacher stands at the checkout, the register totaling $100, and the text reads, “They make sure students have everything they need.” With very few exceptions, Parr’s multicolored students (a mix of human, alien, and animal) and teachers sport simple, uniform smiles, even when crying. The teachers are a nice mix of male and female, one is in a wheelchair, and several are in ethnic dress. And Parr addresses that age-old question of where teachers live: “Teachers can be just like you and me” is illustrated with four teachers variously eating, brushing teeth, picking out underwear, and sleeping in a bed with a dog and a cat.

Sure to reassure readers nervous about their own teachers-to-be. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 19, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-316-26512-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

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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CINDERELLA

From the Once Upon a World series

A nice but not requisite purchase.

A retelling of the classic fairy tale in board-book format and with a Mexican setting.

Though simplified for a younger audience, the text still relates the well-known tale: mean-spirited stepmother, spoiled stepsisters, overworked Cinderella, fairy godmother, glass slipper, charming prince, and, of course, happily-ever-after. What gives this book its flavor is the artwork. Within its Mexican setting, the characters are olive-skinned and dark-haired. Cultural references abound, as when a messenger comes carrying a banner announcing a “FIESTA” in beautiful papel picado. Cinderella is the picture of beauty, with her hair up in ribbons and flowers and her typically Mexican many-layered white dress. The companion volume, Snow White, set in Japan and illustrated by Misa Saburi, follows the same format. The simplified text tells the story of the beautiful princess sent to the forest by her wicked stepmother to be “done away with,” the dwarves that take her in, and, eventually, the happily-ever-after ending. Here too, what gives the book its flavor is the artwork. The characters wear traditional clothing, and the dwarves’ house has the requisite shoji screens, tatami mats and cherry blossoms in the garden. The puzzling question is, why the board-book presentation? Though the text is simplified, it’s still beyond the board-book audience, and the illustrations deserve full-size books.

A nice but not requisite purchase. (Board book/fairy tale. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7915-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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