This sweet book offers a comforting and reassuring idea to help children through a tough time—or any time.

WHEN YOU NEED WINGS

An invitation to wary children to find strength within.

The author/illustrator advises kids facing a loud, frightening, unfamiliar situation, when “no one is listening” and when disappearing seems like a good idea, to concentrate on “the sound of [their] very own wings, beating within.” As depicted in the delightful, energetic pencil-and-watercolor illustrations, these invisible, though audible and palpable, wings help one fly away from fearsome experiences and enter a blissful, imaginary realm of “treasures” where anything’s possible. There, one might laugh, dance, gambol, and even shout among assorted nonthreatening companions. Indulging in flights of fancy, the story assures readers, can give one the strength and self-confidence to meet erstwhile scary problems with aplomb. This simple, charming story presents a young white child who finds the first day of preschool intimidating. Eyes closed and concentrating on the beating wings within, the child enters an enchanting forest of the mind filled with friendly, revelry-making wildlife. Once the adventure’s over, the child, now confident enough to “fly” in the real world, is shown having a genuinely joyful time with welcoming, diverse classmates. An especially captivating double-page spread shows the child’s wide-eyed face smiling out at readers, surrounded by the symbolic white doves that support her.

This sweet book offers a comforting and reassuring idea to help children through a tough time—or any time. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3755-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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Making friends isn’t always this easy and convenient.

BUDDY'S NEW BUDDY

From the Growing With Buddy series , Vol. 3

How do you make a new friend when an old one moves away?

Buddy (from Sorry, Grown-Ups, You Can’t Go to School, 2019, etc.) is feeling lonely. His best friend just moved across town. To make matters worse, there is a field trip coming up, and Buddy needs a bus partner. His sister, Lady, has some helpful advice for making a new pal: “You just need to find something you have in common.” Buddy loves the game Robo Chargers and karate. Surely there is someone else who does, too! Unfortunately, there isn’t. However, when a new student arrives (one day later) and asks everyone to call her Sunny instead of Alison, Buddy gets excited. No one uses his given name, either; they just call him Buddy. He secretly whispers his “real, official name” to Sunny at lunch—an indication that a true friendship is being formed. The rest of the story plods merrily along, all pieces falling exactly into place (she even likes Robo Chargers!), accompanied by Bowers’ digital art, a mix of spot art and full-bleed illustrations. Friendship-building can be an emotionally charged event in a child’s life—young readers will certainly see themselves in Buddy’s plight—but, alas, there is not much storytelling magic to be found. Buddy and his family are White, Sunny and Mr. Teacher are Black, and Buddy’s other classmates are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Making friends isn’t always this easy and convenient. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-30709-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught...

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A PROBLEM?

A child struggles with the worry and anxiety that come with an unexpected problem.

In a wonderful balance of text and pictures, the team responsible for What Do You Do With an Idea (2014) returns with another book inspiring children to feel good about themselves. A child frets about a problem that won’t go away: “I wished it would just disappear. I tried everything I could to hide from it. I even found ways to disguise myself. But it still found me.” The spare, direct narrative is accompanied by soft gray illustrations in pencil and watercolor. The sepia-toned figure of the child is set apart from the background and surrounded by lots of white space, visually isolating the problem, which is depicted as a purple storm cloud looming overhead. Color is added bit by bit as the storm cloud grows and its color becomes more saturated. With a backpack and umbrella, the child tries to escape the problem while the storm swirls, awash with compass points scattered across the pages. The pages brighten into splashes of yellow as the child decides to tackle the problem head-on and finds that it holds promise for unlooked-for opportunity.

A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught situations, this belongs on the shelf alongside Molly Bang’s Sophie books. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-943-20000-9

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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