A nicely paced, visually fresh read-aloud treat celebrating friendship.

SNOWFLAKE IN MY POCKET

A snowy day transforms the world for a young squirrel longing to share the experience with his best friend.

Wise and seasoned Bear lives with young Squirrel in an old oak. When they explore the forest together, Bear experiences everything “new again with Squirrel by his side.” One icy night, Bear warns of snow. When Squirrel wakes up, he scrapes a hole in the frosty window, revealing the snowy world outside. Bear has a cold so Squirrel ventures outdoors alone to “have fun for both of them.” All seems perfect as Squirrel crunches, runs, and rolls in the fresh snow, excitedly making snow angels and snow bears, but he misses Bear and catches a snowflake to bring home. Alas, the snowflake melts in Squirrel’s pocket, prompting Bear to sagely remind Squirrel, “snow comes and snow goes” but their friendship will last. Using simple, brightly colored, cut-paper forms enhanced with delicate pencil etchings, the engaging illustrations neatly contrast the snowy outdoors with the homey indoors. A circle motif (Bear’s and Squirrel’s round heads, round cameo scenes, round moon, round snowflakes, and a round cutout window providing a peek-through experience) reinforce the circle of friendship. Onomatopoeic phrases such as “splosh-splish” and “thumpety-thud” as well as intriguing pencil details beg readers’ participation.

A nicely paced, visually fresh read-aloud treat celebrating friendship. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-61067-551-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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A wandering effort, happy but pointless.

DRAGONS LOVE TACOS

From the Dragons Love Tacos series

The perfect book for kids who love dragons and mild tacos.

Rubin’s story starts with an incantatory edge: “Hey, kid! Did you know that dragons love tacos? They love beef tacos and chicken tacos. They love really big gigantic tacos and tiny little baby tacos as well.” The playing field is set: dragons, tacos. As a pairing, they are fairly silly, and when the kicker comes in—that dragons hate spicy salsa, which ignites their inner fireworks—the silliness is sillier still. Second nature, after all, is for dragons to blow flames out their noses. So when the kid throws a taco party for the dragons, it seems a weak device that the clearly labeled “totally mild” salsa comes with spicy jalapenos in the fine print, prompting the dragons to burn down the house, resulting in a barn-raising at which more tacos are served. Harmless, but if there is a parable hidden in the dragon-taco tale, it is hidden in the unlit deep, and as a measure of lunacy, bridled or unbridled, it doesn’t make the leap into the outer reaches of imagination. Salmieri’s artwork is fitting, with a crabbed, ethereal line work reminiscent of Peter Sís, but the story does not offer it enough range.

A wandering effort, happy but pointless. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3680-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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