Young readers will want to experience this book over and over again.

IF I WERE A TREE

Enjoy and observe nature with all your senses.

A family of color embarks on an adventure in the great outdoors. On their way to the campsite and when they get there, the children repeatedly declare, “If I were a tree,” then imagine exploring the world from the trees’ perspectives. They imagine seeing (“a web draped with dew, the dawn turning blue”), touching (“nests on my bark, bats hiding till dark”), smelling (“sweet honey and bees, and skunk on the breeze”), tasting (“waters that flood, and minerals in mud”), and hearing (“snakes in a hole, the sneeze of a mole”) their surroundings. As the children wander through the forest, the rhyming verses and simple text engage children in the fun. Readers will delight in the breathtaking illustrations. Double-page spreads are rich and vibrant, Tsong using the colors of nature to evoke a warm and inviting environment. The combination of printmaking and digital collage creates an abundance of depth and texture to each illustration. From an aerial view of a tiny tent in a vast forest to a close-up look at a dazzling spiderweb, the varying perspective reveals more and more with each page turn. Mom presents Asian, and Dad has brown skin, with one child taking after each; the book thus adds valuable representation to the nature genre. A concluding spread offers tree-related extension prompts.

Young readers will want to experience this book over and over again. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-62014-801-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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Wise and sometimes a bit wacky literary advice for the intergenerational family.

HOW TO READ TO A GRANDMA OR GRANDPA

From the How To... series

A pair of savvy grandchildren provides inspiration for family reading with their grandparents.

Like all good reading advocates, the children have thought of everything: where and how to choose books, where and when to read, and how to savor the good or not-so-good parts by rereading, discussion, and even acting out dramatic or humorous scenes. Overall, this double pair of siblings and perceptively keen elders ably models a love of reading. Amusing and endearing cartoon drawings colorfully depict a variety of other reading bonuses, such as book-inspired garden-bug investigations, science experiments, and moonlit backyard snuggles. Of course many of today’s grandparents are regularly involved in the care and nurturing of their grandkids, and many aspects of reading together are entertained, including silly ones like reading under the bed with a grandpa or a shared reading with long-distance grandparents via video chat. Making books part of everyday life is a steady message throughout. Within this quartet, the grandma has pale brown skin and the grandpa appears white, and one child’s skin is slightly lighter than the other’s.

Wise and sometimes a bit wacky literary advice for the intergenerational family. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-0193-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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Like a faithful teddy, sure to become a favorite for many readers.

LOUIS

A hug is a powerful thing.

Louis, a stuffed teddy bear, has grievances: His owner, a dark-haired kid with light-brown skin, has mistreated Louis in a variety of ways, including using the bear as a hankie, burying the toy in the sand, and subjecting him to the terrors of the washing machine. After Louis suffers the final indignity—almost being left behind on public transportation—the bear plans to make his escape. Savvy readers may surmise that Louis’ heart isn’t completely in this grand departure, as the teddy delays based on rain, cupcake-filled tea parties, and being the star of show-and-tell due to bravery during the bus incident. When the perfect moment to desert finally arrives, a last-minute hug helps Louis realize how much the kid loves and appreciates him. It’s a charming, genuinely sweet ending to a well-crafted story that leaves lots of openings for Rowan-Zoch’s boldly colored, crisp cartoon artwork to deliver a vibrant pop that will be appreciated in both large storytimes and intimate lap reads. Louis is marvelously expressive, panicking, glaring, and unexpectedly softening by turns. Caregivers and educators may see an opportunity in the story to engage in creative writing or storytelling based on the readers’ own favorite stuffed friends. Louis’ owner’s mom appears in one scene wearing a salwar kameez, suggesting the family is of South Asian heritage.

Like a faithful teddy, sure to become a favorite for many readers. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-328-49806-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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