A clever look at tolerance and understanding.

WELCOME TO BOBVILLE

CITY OF BOBS

In a town where everyone looks the same, individuality finally shines.

In Bobville, everyone is named “Bob” (according to their nametags), and everyone looks exactly the same. Striped shirts stretch over rotund bodies, noses flop, and skin and clothes are drab in grayscale shades. Every Bob does the same thing as the next Bob—they eat the same food, think the same thoughts, indulge in the same hobby (playing accordion, of course), and dream the same dreams at night (watching paint dry). They have heard of suspicious others who are not named Bob but see those only on the news. One day, one intrepid Bob wakes up and decides instead to be called “Bruce.” Bruce gets a new, very colorful wardrobe and steps outside. The town is appalled. They immediately ostracize the “Person Formerly Known as Bob,” quickly building a wall to keep Bruce out forever (and any other errant “not-Bobs,” too). Luckily, Bruce just might find a new, more accepting community, after all. Aptly named Staake fills the art with sly asides: a sign that states “Curb Your Bob,” a supermarket shelf filled with Bob-related cereals, and a “Bobhound” bus, to name a few. Background colors in Bobville are muted to pastel shades; the other side of the wall is splashy, diverse, and bold.

A clever look at tolerance and understanding. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12272-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

As insubstantial as hot air.

THE WORLD NEEDS WHO YOU WERE MADE TO BE

A diverse cast of children first makes a fleet of hot air balloons and then takes to the sky in them.

Lifestyle maven Gaines uses this activity as a platform to celebrate diversity in learning and working styles. Some people like to work together; others prefer a solo process. Some take pains to plan extensively; others know exactly what they want and jump right in. Some apply science; others demonstrate artistic prowess. But “see how beautiful it can be when / our differences share the same sky?” Double-page spreads leading up to this moment of liftoff are laid out such that rhyming abcb quatrains typically contain one or two opposing concepts: “Some of us are teachers / and share what we know. / But all of us are learners. / Together is how we grow!” In the accompanying illustration, a bespectacled, Asian-presenting child at a blackboard lectures the other children on “balloon safety.” Gaines’ text has the ring of sincerity, but the sentiment is hardly an original one, and her verse frequently sacrifices scansion for rhyme. Sometimes it abandons both: “We may not look / or work or think the same, / but we all have an / important part to play.” Swaney’s delicate, pastel-hued illustrations do little to expand on the text, but they are pretty. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11.2-by-18.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 70.7% of actual size.)

As insubstantial as hot air. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4003-1423-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tommy Nelson

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

more