An invaluable resource that supports ease and confidence.



From the First Conversations series

This primer on gender lays the groundwork for affirming conversations and creates opportunities for self-identification.

In straightforward, encouraging prose, Madison and Ralli guide readers through a gentle and interactive introduction to gender, sex, self-expression, and feminism. Beginning with a concrete foundation of commonality (everyone has a body), the lesson continues naturally into specific body parts (elbows, noses, vaginas, penises—the latter two not depicted), all the while normalizing that “every person’s body parts look different.” With that understanding, the narrator transitions into the way grown-ups describe babies as boys or girls when they are born, based on genitalia; here there’s a refreshing (but brief) acknowledgement that sometimes grown-ups aren’t sure but make a guess anyway. Emphasizing joy, wonder, the fluidity of identity, and self-expertise, the text carefully distinguishes gender from expression, which leads seamlessly into a developmentally conscious explanation of harmful stereotypes, unfair rules that give boys unearned power, and ultimately a call to action. Prompting questions invite the audience to deepen the facilitated conversation through moments of self-love, reflection, and sharing personal truths. Accompanying illustrations feature a racially diverse cohort of children learning about themselves, playing with one another, and engaging with their community, which includes recurring representations of disabled people as active participants. The final pages, targeted at caregivers, provide additional means of engaging with the conversation and pointedly challenge adults not to underestimate young people.

An invaluable resource that supports ease and confidence. (resources) (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-38264-6

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Rise x Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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Caregivers eager to expose their children to fine art have better choices than this.


From “Apple” to “Zebra,” an alphabet of images drawn from museum paintings.

In an exhibition that recalls similar, if less parochial, ABCs from the Metropolitan Museum of Art (My First ABC, 2009) and several other institutions, Hahn presents a Eurocentric selection of paintings or details to illustrate for each letter a common item or animal—all printed with reasonable clarity and captioned with identifying names, titles, and dates. She then proceeds to saddle each with an inane question (“What sounds do you think this cat is making?” “Where can you find ice?”) and a clumsily written couplet that unnecessarily repeats the artist’s name: “Flowers are plants that blossom and bloom. / Frédéric Bazille painted them filling up this room!” She also sometimes contradicts the visuals, claiming that the horses in a Franz Marc painting entitled “Two Horses, 1912” are ponies, apparently to populate the P page. Moreover, her “X” is an actual X-ray of a Jean-Honoré Fragonard, showing that the artist repainted his subject’s face…interesting but not quite in keeping with the familiar subjects chosen for the other letters.

Caregivers eager to expose their children to fine art have better choices than this. (Informational picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5107-4938-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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Vague, slapdash reassurances to readers growing up in a worrisome world.


Simple comforts for young fretters and overthinkers.

Recycling themes and even some images from The I'm Not Scared Book (2011), Parr first enumerates a selective list of things that can cause anxiety (fears of the dark or of having to go to the doctor, having too much to do, being bullied) and times that worrying can happen. The latter include lying awake in bed, watching TV, "looking at screens too much" (a frazzled-looking person holds a tablet), and overhearing "bad news"—exemplified with an image of a flying saucer, travelers from abroad (of one sort or another) being much on people's minds these days. He then goes on to general coping strategies ranging from taking deep breaths to visiting friends, dancing, squeezing a toy, or just thinking about "everyone who loves and takes care of you!" "Worrying doesn't help you," he concludes, but talking about concerns will. Readers searching for books that address deeper-seated anxiety might be better served by Me and My Fear, by Francesca Sanna (2018). In Parr's thick-lined, minimally detailed illustrations, the artist employs his characteristic technique of adding blue, purple, and bright yellow to the palette of skin tones; he also occasionally switches out human figures for dogs or cats behaving as people would. It's a strategy, though it leaves the cast with a generic look overall.

Vague, slapdash reassurances to readers growing up in a worrisome world. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: June 18, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-50668-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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