No one could have a heart of stone reading this one.

ANTHONY AND THE GARGOYLE

A boy and his gargoyle companion show the importance of family in this sweet, wordless picture book.

Opening with an image of a picture-covered wall depicting a White family’s history—elderly relatives, wedding pictures, and cuddly baby pictures of our protagonist holding a large gray egg in his lap—the book then depicts the titular Anthony going to bed with the egg on his bedside table, then waking up to it having hatched. Hiding in the closet is an adorable, apparently shy baby gargoyle with large, floppy ears and a tiny horn. The pair play with toys, mark heights on the wall, read books about Notre Dame de Paris and Victor Hugo, until a letter arrives bearing news that Anthony’s grandmother is in the hospital. The family takes the train to Paris, with the little gargoyle stowed away in Anthony’s backpack, peeking out to take in the sights. After a heartwarming visit with Grand-mère, who is introduced to the unnamed gargoyle, the family goes to Notre Dame, where the gargoyle reunites with its worried parent, a full-sized, single-horned figure peering anxiously down onto the city until its offspring’s presence awakes it from its stony state. The book closes with another close-up of the picture wall, this time with a photo of Anthony and the gargoyle family. Kastelic’s muted watercolor panels, reminiscent of the work of Carson Ellis, paint a full picture of these two loving families and the venerated French capital. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

No one could have a heart of stone reading this one. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77306-344-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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A deliciously sweet reminder to try one’s unique best.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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THE SMART COOKIE

From the Food Group series

This smart cookie wasn’t alwaysa smart cookie.

At the corner of Sweet Street stands a bakery, which a whole range of buns and cakes and treats calls home, including a small cookie who “didn’t feel comfortable speaking up or sharing” any ideas once upon a time. During the early days of gingerbread school, this cookie (with sprinkles on its top half, above its wide eyes and tiny, smiling mouth) never got the best grades, didn’t raise a hand to answer questions, and almost always finished most tests last, despite all best efforts. As a result, the cookie would worry away the nights inside of a cookie jar. Then one day, kind Ms. Biscotti assigns some homework that asks everyone “to create something completely original.” What to do? The cookie’s first attempts (baking, building a birdhouse, sculpting) fail, but an idea strikes soon enough. “A poem!” Titling its opus “My Crumby Days,” the budding cookie poet writes and writes until done. “AHA!” When the time arrives to share the poem with the class, this cookie learns that there’s more than one way to be smart. John and Oswald’s latest installment in the hilarious Food Group series continues to provide plenty of belly laughs (thanks to puns galore!) and mini buns of wisdom in a wholly effervescent package. Oswald’s artwork retains its playful, colorful creative streak. Although slightly less effective than its predecessors due to its rather broad message, this one’s nonetheless an excellent addition to the menu.(This book was reviewed digitally.)

A deliciously sweet reminder to try one’s unique best. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-304540-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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A must-have book about the power of one’s voice and the friendships that emerge when you are yourself.

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THE DAY YOU BEGIN

School-age children encounter and overcome feelings of difference from their peers in the latest picture book from Woodson.

This nonlinear story centers on Angelina, with big curly hair and brown skin, as she begins the school year with a class share-out of summer travels. Text and illustrations effectively work together to convey her feelings of otherness as she reflects on her own summer spent at home: “What good is this / when others were flying,” she ponders while leaning out her city window forlornly watching birds fly past to seemingly faraway places. López’s incorporation of a ruler for a door, table, and tree into the illustrations creatively extends the metaphor of measuring up to others. Three other children—Rigoberto, a recent immigrant from Venezuela; a presumably Korean girl with her “too strange” lunch of kimchi, meat, and rice; and a lonely white boy in what seems to be a suburb—experience more-direct teasing for their outsider status. A bright jewel-toned palette and clever details, including a literal reflection of a better future, reveal hope and pride in spite of the taunting. This reassuring, lyrical book feels like a big hug from a wise aunt as she imparts the wisdom of the world in order to calm trepidatious young children: One of these things is not like the other, and that is actually what makes all the difference.

A must-have book about the power of one’s voice and the friendships that emerge when you are yourself. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-24653-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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