Words and pictures also cooperate to deliver a gentle but important lesson.

CORAL

Mermaids share a message.

Mermaids Coral, Filly, and Manta work together to create the reef they call their home. But when Coral hides in a secluded nook she hopes to keep for herself, she discovers the emptiness that can result from not sharing. Idle, creator of the much-loved Flora series, returns to the underwater world she created for Pearl (2018) with this clever metaphorical depiction of the parts of a flourishing reef: the coral that constructs the reef itself, the fish that feed there, and the sharks and rays that keep it balanced. But her gentle fable resonates beyond the environmental level. The mermaids’ conversation sounds like squabbling siblings: “You’ve ruined everything!” and “All you make is a mess!” With colored pencils, she’s created a glowing, pastel-hued underwater world inhabited by three mermaids (Coral’s pink, Manta’s blue, and Filly’s a brown-toned yellow). (In a particularly nice design touch, the watery landscape of the back-cover flap exactly meets the pattern of the endpaper.) Her mermaids don’t sparkle; they, too, almost glow, matching the tones of their environment, and they reject clichéd mermaid imagery, instead appearing more as armed, anthropomorphic fish than human women with fish tales. During the quarrel, both color and background fade away. Coral goes white with anger, reflecting the color of a distressed reef, before her color returns as they reconcile.

Words and pictures also cooperate to deliver a gentle but important lesson. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-46571-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

HEY, DUCK!

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

Just the thing to get uncertain youngsters jazzed for a first day—at school or anywhere.

THE QUEEN OF KINDERGARTEN

Barnes and Brantley-Newton team up for a follow-up to The King of Kindergarten (2019).

From the very first page, it’s clear that young MJ Malone is ready to face the world—and school. Once Mom bestows her with a glittery tiara and dubs her the queen of kindergarten, MJ is determined to fulfill her duties—brighten up every room she enters, treat others with kindness, and offer a helping hand. Barnes infuses each page with humor and a sense of grace as the immensely likable MJ makes the most of her first day. Barnes’ prose is entertaining and heartwarming, while Brantley-Newton’s vivid and playful artwork will be easily recognizable for anyone who’s seen her work (Grandma’s Purse, 2018; Becoming Vanessa, 2021). The illustrator adds verve to the bold young heroine’s character—from the colorful barrettes to the textured appearance of her adorable denim jumper, the girl has style and substance. MJ Malone embodies the can-do spirit every parent hopes to spark in their own children, though even shy kindergarteners will gladly find a friend in her. MJ and her family are Black; her classroom is diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Just the thing to get uncertain youngsters jazzed for a first day—at school or anywhere. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 24, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-11142-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more