A powerful message about listening and valuing your own abilities, accompanied by gorgeous illustrations.

THE LITTLE LION THAT LISTENED

A lion cub finds a reason to roar in this picture book.

Leo the lion cub doesn’t roar like his brother and sister. “Nobody will ever respect a quiet lion,” his father complains. But Leo’s mother knows he will roar when he’s ready. On the following pages, Leo gets his family out of trouble with his listening skills, helping them evade human hunters and hungry hyenas. But despite Leo’s heroics, when it’s time for the lions’ roaring competition, his father is angry that the cub won’t participate. Ashamed, Leo runs to the top of a hill, where he hears a forest fire. He knows the only way he can warn his family is to finally roar. Leo again saves the day, but even though he has loudly roared, he returns to his quiet, listening self. Tana deftly balances the tale of Leo’s strengths with the need to speak up when it’s important without ever undermining or devaluing the cub’s personality. As with the author’s previous book, Monsters Are Afraid of Babies (2019), the accessible text is characterized by short sentences with a few advanced vocabulary words (stalked, approaching). Debut illustrator Fox’s highly textured, geometric images hint at a papercut tradition, which gives the potent story a folktale flavor. (The story design is by Molleur.) Lap readers are sure to page through the beautiful pictures, which invite kids to sink in and immerse themselves in Leo’s vivid world.

A powerful message about listening and valuing your own abilities, accompanied by gorgeous illustrations.

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-950033-15-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: New Classics Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

BE YOU!

An inspirational picture book offers life advice for readers who want to be themselves.

Replete with sparkling, often quirky illustrations of children living their best lives, this book is a gorgeous guidebook for those seeking encouragement while encountering life’s challenges. The children featured—a racially diverse group ranging from infants to preschoolers—cheerfully navigate the various injunctions that flow through the text: “Be curious.…Be adventurous.…Be persistent.…Be kind.” What is remarkable about the book is that even though the instructions and the brief sentences explaining them are at times vague, the illustrations expand on them in ways readers will find endearing and uplifting. Those depicting painful or challenging moments are especially effective. The “Be persistent” double-page spread shows a child in a boat on stormy seas; it’s rich with deep blues as it emphasizes the energy of wind and rain and struggle in the face of challenge. Together with the accompanying repeated phrase “Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop,” this spread arrests readers. By contrast, the “Be kind. Be understanding” spread simply presents two children’s faces, one cast in blue and the other in gold, but the empathy that Reynolds conveys is similarly captivating. While there is no plot to pull readers through the pages, the book provides rich fodder for caregivers to use as teachable moments, both informally and in classroom settings.

Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-57231-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

more