Positive and encouraging—as much for fathers as for children.

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MY FATHER KNOWS

This picture book, told from the perspective of a man who identifies as Moorish-American, celebrates the role of fathers and father figures in their children’s lives.

As African-American educator and poet Haki R. Madhubuti states in a foreword, this children’s book “provides us with a necessary primer that puts Black men at the center of working families without negating the critical role of Black women.” The narration, from a child’s point of view, explains in rhyming couplets how fathers are important: They know how to fix things; they teach school subjects, life lessons, manners, morals, and history; they take kids on trips, meet with teachers, and cook meals. In the end, the child concludes, “When I grow up I’m going to be / as good to Father as he’s been to me” and present him with a brand-new truck. El (Thank You and Please, 2017, etc.) writes verse that scans well as it sums up the best qualities of a parent. Although the book may help children appreciate fathers, its true audience may be adults. It starts off with a “Vow of Fatherhood” for a reader to fill in, and the narrator’s statements could be seen as ideals for dads to meet. The expressive, varied illustrations by Carrington (Everything Is Wonderful II, 2018, etc.) depict a wide range of black skin tones.

Positive and encouraging—as much for fathers as for children.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-0-912475-06-6

Page Count: 35

Publisher: Natural Resources Unlimited

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

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. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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THE LORAX

The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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