Darling new friends with sweet life lessons for new readers.

A WINDY SPRING DAY

GOD GIVES US FRIENDS WHEN WE'RE AFRAID

From the Tales of Buttercup Grove series

Dunham introduces readers to Skunk, Raccoon, and their woodland friends in this new early-reader series.

When wind rips through the forest and meadows of Buttercup Grove, Skunk is frightened and anxious. Holed up in his windblown home, on his cozy sofa, Skunk calls for his brave friend Raccoon to come over and help alleviate his fear. Raccoon has an idea for a surprise, something that he and Skunk can make together and that may just make the wind far less frightening as well: a kite! By dint of compassionate friendship and a little creativity, the fearful wind is transformed into a plaything. Companion title Sunflower Summer continues in this vein with a focus on developing patience as the friends from Buttercup Grove expectantly await the full bloom of their summer sunflower garden. Sparks’ charming watercolor-and-ink illustrations accompany the limited-vocabulary text to provide interest and context clues for beginning readers. Though quotes from Scripture at the end of each title point readers toward relevant Christian teachings (Psalms for this title, Romans for Sunflower Summer), the positive character-building messages will likely appeal to readers of other backgrounds as well.

Darling new friends with sweet life lessons for new readers. (Early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7369-7200-0

Page Count: 66

Publisher: Harvest House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2018

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An uplifting, rhyming picture book offering food for the soul.

A SPOONFUL OF FAITH

A mother teaches her daughter a special recipe to help feed her faith.

Layla, a young, brown-skinned girl, is ready yet nervous for her first day of school. Seeking a confidence boost, she goes in search of her mom—“’Cause mamas can help / when you need love and calm”—and finds her in the kitchen. “Hey, sweetie, sit here / Let’s make a quick meal / that’s full of good things / to help how you feel,” her mother suggests and fishes out a recipe book. The recipe for the meal includes many ingredients, but none of them are tangible. Instead, courage, “a spoonful of faith,” “dashes of kindness,” “handfuls of hope,” “pinches of prayers,” and warm hugs go into the mixing bowl. To concretize these virtues, the artwork uses a visual motif of hearts and flowers. Once the meal is ready, Layla hesitantly looks into the bowl, unsure what to make of the imaginary repast, but a word of wisdom from Mama helps her realize the true source of her emotional sustenance and strength. The illustrations, created using digital watercolor, pencil, and gouache brushes in Procreate, are soothing, with soft pastel colors. While God is mentioned, there are no references to any specific religion.

An uplifting, rhyming picture book offering food for the soul. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-301781-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

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With a universal message of love and community, this book offers a beautiful representation of a too-often-overlooked...

MOMMY'S KHIMAR

From a debut author-and-illustrator team comes a glimpse into a young American Muslim girl’s family and community as she walks around in “Mommy’s khimar,” or headscarf.

The star of this sunny picture book is a young girl who finds joy in wearing her mother’s khimar, imagining it transforms her into a queen, a star, a mama bird, a superhero. At the core of the story is the love between the girl and her mother. The family appears to be African-American, with brown skin and textured hair. The girl’s braids and twists “form a bumpy crown” under the khimar, which smells of coconut oil and cocoa butter. Adults in her life delight in her appearance in the bright yellow khimar, including her Arabic teacher at the mosque, who calls it a “hijab,” and her grandmother, who visits after Sunday service and calls out “Sweet Jesus!” as she scoops her granddaughter into her arms. Her grandmother is, apparently, a Christian, but “We are a family and we love each other just the same.” The illustrations feature soft pastel colors with dynamic lines and gently patterned backgrounds that complement the story’s joyful tone. The words are often lyrical, and the story artfully includes many cultural details that will delight readers who share the cheerful protagonist’s culture and enlighten readers who don’t.

With a universal message of love and community, this book offers a beautiful representation of a too-often-overlooked cultural group . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0059-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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