WHERE ARE YOU, BLUE KANGAROO?

Clark’s blue kangaroo (I Love You, Blue Kangaroo, 1999) returns in a tale of forgetfulness that makes one of the two friends a little anxious. Blue Kangaroo, a stuffed toy, is Lily’s best chum. They go everywhere together—to the park, on the bus, to the zoo—and since these places are so exciting, Lily’s attention is sometimes, well, distracted. But Blue Kangaroo waits patiently for Lily to find him. Until the evening comes that Lily mentions their trip to the seashore the next day. This gives Blue Kangaroo a case of the jimjams—“He thought about the seaside and he worried and worried,” as you might too if Lily, sweet as she is, was your protector. After Lily falls asleep, Blue Kangaroo takes action. Come the morning and Blue Kangaroo is nowhere to be found. The house is torn apart, the yard is combed, and Lily is in tears, when finally Blue Kangaroo is found in her bathrobe pocket. A light clicks on in Lily’s noggin and she fashions her own pouch, to ferry Blue Kangaroo around securely in a most appropriate conveyance. Lily learns the hard way to pay attention to those near and dear to her, but readers will experience the moral of the story very gently, set as it is to comforting words. Clark’s crisp artwork is softened by pastel shades and filled with the details of a little girl’s life, giving children a chance to search for Blue Kangaroo, too. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-385-32797-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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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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The joys of counting combine with pretty art and homage to Goodnight Moon.

GOODNIGHT, NUMBERS

This bedtime book offers simple rhymes, celebrates the numbers one through 10, and encourages the counting of objects.

Each double-page spread shows a different toddler-and-caregiver pair, with careful attention to different skin tones, hair types, genders, and eye shapes. The pastel palette and soft, rounded contours of people and things add to the sleepy litany of the poems, beginning with “Goodnight, one fork. / Goodnight, one spoon. / Goodnight, one bowl. / I’ll see you soon.” With each number comes a different part in a toddler’s evening routine, including dinner, putting away toys, bathtime, and a bedtime story. The white backgrounds of the pages help to emphasize the bold representations of the numbers in both written and numerical forms. Each spread gives multiple opportunities to practice counting to its particular number; for example, the page for “four” includes four bottles of shampoo and four inlaid dots on a stool—beyond the four objects mentioned in the accompanying rhyme. Each home’s décor, and the array and types of toys and accoutrements within, shows a decidedly upscale, Western milieu. This seems compatible with the patronizing author’s note to adults, which accuses “the media” of indoctrinating children with fear of math “in our country.” Regardless, this sweet treatment of numbers and counting may be good prophylaxis against math phobia.

The joys of counting combine with pretty art and homage to Goodnight Moon. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-93378-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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