Exciting, heartwarming, and wise—this truly will resonate with a range of ages.

THE WIND MAY BLOW

As potential challenges are depicted, an offstage parent offers a child loving messages of mindfulness and empowerment.

Is this another sentimental book with singsong couplets published mainly for presentation at baby showers and graduation? No! Imaginatively shaped pages and clever die cuts that highlight important images (the sun; the child’s constant canine companion) or words (breathe, will rise again) ensure child appeal. The rhymes please and surprise, as they occur irregularly: sometimes internally, at others, at the end of phrases. The brown-skinned child protagonist is at first swaddled in red baby blankets, then in a similarly colored hoodie—thus, gender is indeterminate, allowing for universal identification while drawing comparisons to two of children’s literature’s iconic characters. The palette shifts from warm and sunny to the dramatic blues and purples of a nocturnal tempest illuminated by lightning as a storm tosses and splinters the child’s raft. The tense has changed from a reflective past to an imagined present or future, with calming assurances: “know that… / you are strong enough. / …you are smart enough. / … you have all you need / to make it through.” As timber is transformed into a shelter for the dog and protagonist, the narrative suggests that both structure and child are “as something new.” From the shimmering foil of the jacket to the contrasting endpapers, this picture book packs substance and style into its compact format.

Exciting, heartwarming, and wise—this truly will resonate with a range of ages. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-680-10268-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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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 full-hearted valentine.

THIS IS A SCHOOL

A soaring panegyric to elementary school as a communal place to learn and grow.

“This is a kid,” Schu begins. “This is a kid in a class. This is a class in a hall….” If that class—possibly second graders, though they could be a year to either side of that—numbers only about a dozen in Jamison’s bright paintings, it makes up for that in diversity, with shiny faces of variously brown or olive complexion well outnumbering paler ones; one child using a wheelchair; and at least two who appear to be Asian. (The adult staff is likewise racially diverse.) The children are individualized in the art, but the author’s narrative is addressed more to an older set of readers as it runs almost entirely to collective nouns and abstract concepts: “We share. We help. / This is a community, growing.” Younger audiences will zero in on the pictures, which depict easily recognizable scenes of both individual and collective learning and play, with adults and classmates always on hand to help out or join in. Signs of conflict are unrealistically absent, but an occasional downcast look does add a bit of nuance to the general air of eager positivity on display. A sad face at an apartment window with a comment that “[s]ometimes something happens, and we can’t all be together” can be interpreted as an oblique reference to pandemic closings, but the central message here is that school is a physical space, not a virtual one, where learning and community happen. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A full-hearted valentine. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0458-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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