Readers in birth families or found families will appreciate this tale of parent-child connection.

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MONTANA'S MEMORY DAY

A NATURE-THEMED FOSTER/ADOPTION STORY

A boy thinks about life with “New Mom” as they celebrate and remember his adoption day in a picture book about family and belonging.

Montana used to move around a lot, changing houses and living with different families. Now, New Mom is a constant in the youngster’s life. She teaches him how to help out on her farm, spends time showing him how to whittle, and wakes him early for nature walks. Together, they spend Montana’s Memory Day—the anniversary of his adoption—sharing a love of nature; when they encounter a track in the snow that Montana thinks belongs to a wolf, New Mom assures him it’s from a coyote: “But don’t worry—there’s room here for all of us,” she says. Lawrence’s simple language and calm phrases are soothing; her creative word forms (rememberer, differentness) give a lyrical feel to Montana’s first-person narrative. The prominence of whittling and carving is reflected in Wilson’s beautiful lino-block images whose subdued colors emphasize the winter setting; notes at the end give readers an insider’s look into the illustration process. A nature theme abounds, but it’s the striking closeness between Montana and New Mom that will stick with readers in this warm-blanket bedtime story.

Readers in birth families or found families will appreciate this tale of parent-child connection.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64-543460-3

Page Count: 38

Publisher: Mascot Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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There’s always tomorrow.

TOMORROW IS WAITING

A lyrical message of perseverance and optimism.

The text uses direct address, which the title- and final-page illustrations suggest comes from an adult voice, to offer inspiration and encouragement. The opening spreads reads, “Tonight as you sleep, a new day stirs. / Each kiss good night is a wish for tomorrow,” as the accompanying art depicts a child with black hair and light skin asleep in a bed that’s fantastically situated in a stylized landscape of buildings, overpasses, and roadways. The effect is dreamlike, in contrast with the next illustration, of a child of color walking through a field and blowing dandelion fluff at sunrise. Until the last spread, each child depicted in a range of settings is solitary. Some visual metaphors falter in terms of credibility, as in the case of a white-appearing child using a wheelchair in an Antarctic ice cave strewn with obstacles, as the text reads “you’ll explore the world, only feeling lost in your imagination.” Others are oblique in attempted connections between text and art. How does a picture of a pale-skinned, black-haired child on a bridge in the rain evoke “first moments that will dance with you”? But the image of a child with pink skin and brown hair scaling a wall as text reads “there will be injustice that will challenge you, and it will surprise you how brave you can be” is clearer.

There’s always tomorrow. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-101-99437-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an...

I AM A BIG BROTHER

A little boy exults in his new role as big brother.

Rhyming text describes the arrival of a new baby and all of the big brother’s rewarding new duties. He gets to help with feedings, diaper changes, playtime, bathtime, and naptime. Though the rhyming couplets can sometimes feel a bit forced and awkward, the sentiment is sweet, as the focus here never veers from the excitement and love a little boy feels for his tiny new sibling. The charming, uncluttered illustrations convincingly depict the growing bond between this fair-skinned, rosy-cheeked, smiling pair of boys. In the final pages, the parents, heretofore kept mostly out of view, are pictured holding the children. The accompanying text reads: “Mommy, Daddy, baby, me. / We love each other—a family!” In companion volume I Am a Big Sister, the little boy is replaced with a little girl with bows in her hair. Some of the colors and patterns in the illustrations are slightly altered, but it is essentially the same title.

A good choice for caregivers looking for a positive, uncomplicated introduction to a new baby that focuses on everything an older sibling can do to help. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-68886-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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