A winner all around.

READ REVIEW

OFF WE GO!

From the Bear and Mole series

A good friend will help you prepare for your challenges and will see you through them, as Bear does for Mole in another charming tale in the series from Hillenbrand (Kite Day, 2012, etc.)

As Bear packs books into his knapsack, Mole asks for help in removing his training wheels and checking his bike for safety. Each simple sentence is clearly illuminated with carefully rendered mixed-media artwork, from “They removed”—with Bear holding the bike steady as Mole wields his wrench—to “Mole snapped”—as the pleased little mammal, snout in air, properly fastens his helmet. A tender, double-page spread shows Bear placing a reassuring paw on the back of worried-looking Mole’s bike as the large-type words declare, “At last Mole was ready.” Now comes the wild action! A sophisticated simultaneous succession shows Mole wobbling toward a gentle “crash” on the facing page. Bear encourages the sobbing Mole to try again, and this time he succeeds—scattering plenty of leaves and animals as he gains speed. At journey’s end, everything comes full circle as the friends arrive just on time for a tale at the storymobile. The few words in the text include such vocabulary as grimaced, hoisted and exhaled, making this a terrific choice for a read-aloud from a precocious older sibling to a younger one.

A winner all around. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2520-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

I AM ENOUGH

A feel-good book about self-acceptance.

Empire star Byers and Bobo offer a beautifully illustrated, rhyming picture book detailing what one brown-skinned little girl with an impressive Afro appreciates about herself. Relying on similes, the text establishes a pattern with the opening sentence, “Like the sun, I’m here to shine,” and follows it through most of the book. Some of them work well, while others fall flat: “Like the rain, I’m here to pour / and drip and fall until I’m full.” In some vignettes she’s by herself; and in others, pictured along with children of other races. While the book’s pro-diversity message comes through, the didactic and even prideful expressions of self-acceptance make the book exasperatingly preachy—a common pitfall for books by celebrity authors. In contrast, Bobo’s illustrations are visually stunning. After painting the children and the objects with which they interact, such as flowers, books, and a red wagon, in acrylic on board for a traditional look, she scanned the images into Adobe Photoshop and added the backgrounds digitally in chalk. This lends a whimsical feel to such details as a rainbow, a window, wind, and rain—all reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Bobo creates an inclusive world of girls in which wearing glasses, using a wheelchair, wearing a head scarf, and having a big Afro are unconditionally accepted rather than markers for othering.

A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266712-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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Dog lovers will especially “LOVE” this, and readers who can’t get enough can follow the real-life Plum in the author’s blog.

LOVE IS MY FAVORITE THING

Clark captures a dog’s exuberance and love of the simple things.

While the text is missing any mention of “Squirrel!” still, Plum jumps from one thing to the next that she loves, from wind and snow and catching and sticks and the kids next door to the park, water, tug of war, and ice cream. It’s these last four things that get Plum into trouble one day, one awful day when she wonders if any of the people she loves still love her—that’s how naughty she’s been. This is doubly tough for poor Plum, as LOVE is her favorite thing in the world, LOVE being the love she has for her family, Emma and Rupert, and for Gracie and Sam, the kids next door, and the love they have for her. Clark uses white backgrounds and spreads that vary among comic panels, vignettes, single-page and double-page spreads to pace the tale and make it clear to readers just how energetic and exuberant the scruffy black mutt is. And no child will fail to understand the dog’s conundrum: she knows what she should do and yet feels compelled to do the wrong thing anyway. Fur, ears, and posture speak volumes.

Dog lovers will especially “LOVE” this, and readers who can’t get enough can follow the real-life Plum in the author’s blog. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-17503-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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