A timely message in the wrong format.

TOGETHER

This book delivers a message on the power of collective action.

As the book opens, a child looks at a lone star shining in the sky: “One star shines as distant light.” After the turn of the page, the child now sees what looks like the Milky Way: “And when stars shine together, they make our galaxy.” The book goes on to give a number of similar examples to reinforce the message of the power that comes from working together, ending with: “One of us can speak up for justice / And when we speak up together we create a world of possibility.” In the current atmosphere of strife and discord that divides our country, this is certainly a welcome message. Perhaps, though, the board-book set is not the right audience. As a picture book aimed at a slightly older group with an information page at the end explaining some of the illustrations, it might work well. As it is, however, some of the visual references will merely puzzle a toddler—and some adults. For example, a group of angry-looking people raising their fists and singing together may not look like “harmony” to a toddler—unless they know about the New Zealand haka. There is an unexplained frog motif that runs through the book that may also mystify readers. Nagara’s brilliant illustrations portray people of many ethnic backgrounds.

A timely message in the wrong format. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64421-084-0

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Triangle Square Books for Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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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

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Skimpy with just six spreads but, like its companions, a simple, serene seasonal posy.

SUMMER

A POP-UP BOOK

From the Seasons Pop-Up series

Carter completes his round of seasonal tributes with pop-up sprays of luscious-looking small fruits, garden bounty, and bright flowers.

As before, the locale is a generalized western United States, and both early- and late-season flora and foliage are on display in the same scenes. Along with lots of labels for the neatly limned animals and vegetation in each broad, idyllic landscape—from a “cedar waxwing” nibbling on a “cherry” to the marbled-paper “chickens” pecking beneath a tree heavy with ripe apples—he adds leading questions (“Who eats the flowers?” “Who looks like a stick?”) to invite closer looks. Frisky “chipmunks” are named in the first tableau, then visible without an identifier in each of the following five for younger viewers to point out. Highlighted by a spiraling cucumber vine that turns the vegetable garden into a convincing tangle, the pop-ups are simple and (relatively) sturdy but rear gracefully to surprising heights considering the volume’s small trim size.

Skimpy with just six spreads but, like its companions, a simple, serene seasonal posy. (Informational pop-up picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2832-7

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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