Consider this beautifully designed French import a must-have for any storytime or one-on-one sharing regarding the somewhat...

IN MY HEART

A BOOK OF FEELINGS

From the Growing Hearts series

Vibrant die cuts, whimsical drawings, and a text that explores a wide range of feelings with just the right touches of imagination and wit combine for a most impressive picture-book experience.

Readers will be attracted right away to the rainbow hues of the multilayered die-cut hearts that recede inward from the cover. The device entices readers to turn the page and enter into an exploration of emotion. An expressive girl explains: “My heart is like a house, with all these feelings living inside.” On the facing page, the shape of a house surrounds the interior die-cut hearts. With each page turn, emotions from happiness to sadness, bravery to fear, anger to calm are displayed. Witek expertly utilizes similes to help young readers grasp the concepts; a bright yellow star represents happiness, but a red cross with a bandage on it is emblematic of a broken heart when feelings have been hurt. When the girl’s heart is “silly,” she is “like a bouncy bunny.” At other times her heart is “as heavy as an elephant” or hopeful, “like a plant reaching toward the sky.” As the pages turn, the hearts get smaller and smaller, until the final spread shows a garden with dozens of hearts. Readers are left to answer a question: “How does your heart feel?”

Consider this beautifully designed French import a must-have for any storytime or one-on-one sharing regarding the somewhat sticky subject of feelings. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4197-1310-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2014

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A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

I AM ENOUGH

A feel-good book about self-acceptance.

Empire star Byers and Bobo offer a beautifully illustrated, rhyming picture book detailing what one brown-skinned little girl with an impressive Afro appreciates about herself. Relying on similes, the text establishes a pattern with the opening sentence, “Like the sun, I’m here to shine,” and follows it through most of the book. Some of them work well, while others fall flat: “Like the rain, I’m here to pour / and drip and fall until I’m full.” In some vignettes she’s by herself; and in others, pictured along with children of other races. While the book’s pro-diversity message comes through, the didactic and even prideful expressions of self-acceptance make the book exasperatingly preachy—a common pitfall for books by celebrity authors. In contrast, Bobo’s illustrations are visually stunning. After painting the children and the objects with which they interact, such as flowers, books, and a red wagon, in acrylic on board for a traditional look, she scanned the images into Adobe Photoshop and added the backgrounds digitally in chalk. This lends a whimsical feel to such details as a rainbow, a window, wind, and rain—all reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Bobo creates an inclusive world of girls in which wearing glasses, using a wheelchair, wearing a head scarf, and having a big Afro are unconditionally accepted rather than markers for othering.

A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266712-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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