A simple but entertaining narrative inspired by stuffed animals.

MEET THE JOOBLES

A picture book follows stuffed toys as they move and play.

Brown offers a story featuring a collection of stuffed animals made by Peruvian artisans. The toys, or Joobles, are extremely active, and the tale narrates their motions (“Joobles! Joobles! Take a walk! Joobles! Joobles! Skip and hop!”). The rather emotive text (Joobles is always accompanied by an exclamation point) does not follow a plot, instead describing the Joobles’ activities (“Pip and Mel romp, and Racky runs. Kitty Katz naps in the sun”). The text rhymes in English. Miranda-McIntosh’s Spanish translation that appears on facing pages is able to retain some rhymes, but in many cases, producing an accurate, word-for-word translation means losing the rhythm of the English words. The brightly colored, cartoonlike illustrations by Balsley capture the essence of the protagonists. The images convey the feeling of constant motion supplied by the text, and the emphasis on color rather than intricate details keeps the pictures from overwhelming readers. This is a picture book that does not tell a traditional tale but engages young readers with a catchy rhythm and pleasing rhymes. The combination of a minimalist text in a recurring pattern and eye-catching illustrations is likely to appeal to very young children who enjoy the reading experience but are not yet able to follow a story. An afterword explains the Joobles’ real-life origin and the nonprofit organization that oversees their creation and distribution, providing necessary context for the straightforward tale.

A simple but entertaining narrative inspired by stuffed animals.

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-09-838198-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Fair Indigo

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2021

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 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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