A subtle, varied, lyrically told exploration of the concept.

HOME IS...

In this gentle, expository piece, a rhyming text merges with vibrant illustrations to explore multiple interpretations of the meaning of home.

Home is particular for both humans and creatures of the natural world. Alternating and opposing views prove the point. “Home is land, home is sky. / Home is wet, home is dry.” A rural river scene reveals a bear emerging from its den to find breakfast in the fish-filled river, birds flying above through a clear, sunny sky, a beaver observing from its dam, and a small cottage sitting on the far bank. The contrasting views continue: “Home is dark, home is bright. / Home is day, home is night.” The dark undersea world is shown opposite a bright tropical reef to illustrate the first half of the couplet; a rooster below a beaming sun parallels the night flight of an owl through a city’s star-filled, moonlit sky for the second. The simplicity of the text is significantly enhanced by the soft-toned, complex, and engaging paintings that offer differentiating vistas as the concept of home encompasses the enumerated examples. Some will be obvious in their meaning—“roomy”/“snug,” “floating”/“still,” “far”/“near”—while others will be a bit obscure. All will encourage discussion and analysis. “Forever” versus “on loan” is limned with a turtle opposite a hermit crab. Finally, “Home is anywhere you love” returns to the river scene at night with a depiction of comfort, warmth, and peace as the animals sleep and a window-lit cottage twinkles in the distance. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A subtle, varied, lyrically told exploration of the concept. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2176-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat.

ONE MORE DINO ON THE FLOOR

Dinos that love to move and groove get children counting from one to 10—and perhaps moving to the beat.

Beginning with a solo bop by a female dino (she has eyelashes, doncha know), the dinosaur dance party begins. Each turn of the page adds another dino and a change in the dance genre: waltz, country line dancing, disco, limbo, square dancing, hip-hop, and swing. As the party would be incomplete without the moonwalk, the T. Rex does the honors…and once they are beyond their initial panic at his appearance, the onlookers cheer wildly. The repeated refrain on each spread allows for audience participation, though it doesn’t easily trip off the tongue: “They hear a swish. / What’s this? / One more? / One more dino on the floor.” Some of the prehistoric beasts are easily identifiable—pterodactyl, ankylosaurus, triceratops—but others will be known only to the dino-obsessed; none are identified, other than T-Rex. Packed spreads filled with psychedelically colored dinos sporting blocks of color, stripes, or polka dots (and infectious looks of joy) make identification even more difficult, to say nothing of counting them. Indeed, this fails as a counting primer: there are extra animals (and sometimes a grumpy T-Rex) in the backgrounds, and the next dino to join the party pokes its head into the frame on the page before. Besides all that, most kids won’t get the dance references.

It’s a bit hard to dance, or count, to this beat. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1598-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world.

YOU ARE HOME WITH ME

This reassuring picture book exemplifies how parents throughout the animal kingdom make homes for their offspring.

The narrative is written from the point of view of a parent talking to their child: “If you were a beaver, I would gnaw on trees with my teeth to build a cozy lodge for us to sleep in during the day.” Text appears in big, easy-to-read type, with the name of the creature in boldface. Additional facts about the animal appear in a smaller font, such as: “Beavers have transparent eyelids to help them see under water.” The gathering of land, air, and water animals includes a raven, a flying squirrel, and a sea lion. “Home” might be a nest, a den, or a burrow. One example, of a blue whale who has homes in the north and south (ocean is implied), will help children stretch the concept into feeling at home in the larger world. Illustrations of the habitats have an inviting luminosity. Mature and baby animals are realistically depicted, although facial features appear to have been somewhat softened, perhaps to appeal to young readers. The book ends with the comforting scene of a human parent and child silhouetted in the welcoming lights of the house they approach: “Wherever you may be, you will always have a home with me.”

Instills a sense of well-being in youngsters while encouraging them to explore the natural world. (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-63217-224-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Bigfoot/Sasquatch

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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