Can you love another update? We think you will, we think you will, we think you will….

THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD

90TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Thinking it can for its 90th year, an old friend receives a shiny new update.

Fifteen years after Loren Long’s 75th-anniversary interpretation, Caldecott winner Santat tries his hand at this work of classic children’s literature. Once more a train filled with toys and goodies for all those “good little boys and girls on the other side of the mountain” can only be saved by the smallest, most determined engine of them all. As no part of the text has been changed (the “jackknives” for children remain intact in the train’s inventory), Santat’s challenge is to bring the engine into the 21st century visually. Now the “funny little clown” is actually small instead of adult-sized, and one of the dolls depicted has brown skin and straight, dark hair (the other is white with Shirley Temple ringlets). In Santat’s version, when the Little Blue Engine pulls away from the engine that broke down, one of the toys waves goodbye, and it looks on in relief. Some scenes directly reference the earlier editions, such as a shot of the Little Blue Engine pulling over a bridge as animals run alongside. Kids will enjoy small details, like the toy plane that appears in almost every spread. Adults will enjoy the generous format and Santat’s lovingly rendered landscapes. Notes from Dolly Parton and Santat bookend the story.

Can you love another update? We think you will, we think you will, we think you will…. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09439-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children.

AN ABC OF EQUALITY

Social-equity themes are presented to children in ABC format.

Terms related to intersectional inequality, such as “class,” “gender,” “privilege,” “oppression,” “race,” and “sex,” as well as other topics important to social justice such as “feminism,” “human being,” “immigration,” “justice,” “kindness,” “multicultural,” “transgender,” “understanding,” and “value” are named and explained. There are 26 in all, one for each letter of the alphabet. Colorful two-page spreads with kid-friendly illustrations present each term. First the term is described: “Belief is when you are confident something exists even if you can’t see it. Lots of different beliefs fill the world, and no single belief is right for everyone.” On the facing page it concludes: “B is for BELIEF / Everyone has different beliefs.” It is hard to see who the intended audience for this little board book is. Babies and toddlers are busy learning the names for their body parts, familiar objects around them, and perhaps some basic feelings like happy, hungry, and sad; slightly older preschoolers will probably be bewildered by explanations such as: “A value is an expression of how to live a belief. A value can serve as a guide for how you behave around other human beings. / V is for VALUE / Live your beliefs out loud.”

Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children. (Board book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-742-8

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Although listeners will relate to the difficulty of waiting as presented in Schwartz’s straightforward plot, there is not...

I CAN'T WAIT!

Periodically, a publishing season yields titles on a common theme. This year, coincidentally, three artists explore dimensions of waiting.

Schwartz depicts three impatient preschoolers who are helpfully distracted by other characters. Headings create five segments within the longish text. William enjoys riddles; he drops clues to neighbors, whose silly guesses pass the time until Papa arrives. Anxious Annie rattles off reasons (to Puppy) why Eddie probably doesn’t like her anymore. Then he appears, wondering where she’d been. Thomas helps Grandma choose names for a new sister—until a brother is presented. Cheerful gouache and ink vignettes in a plethora of colorful patterns against a white background carry the flavor of a bygone era: wash hangs outside, batter is licked while baking, a child waits on a porch stoop. After group play, William “can’t wait” until tomorrow. By contrast, Kevin Henkes’ Waiting (2015) celebrates the joy in the moments themselves—the serendipity and sense of community with others who are present. In Antoinette Portis’ Wait (2015), a child repeatedly urges his mother to stop (and look)—with manifold rewards. Both titles feature spare text and rich visual narratives motivating readers to draw their own conclusions—and return.

Although listeners will relate to the difficulty of waiting as presented in Schwartz’s straightforward plot, there is not more to glean. Henkes and Portis offer deeper pleasures in more succinct packages. (Picture book. 4-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4424-8231-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more