Umrigar’s flights of fancy may lead parents and children to ponder their own specific traits and what might have led to them...

WHEN I CARRIED YOU IN MY BELLY

A mother relates how her actions during pregnancy led to her growing daughter’s specific traits.

“When I carried you in my belly, Grandpa baked a chocolate cake each week, and cupcakes with frosting and sprinkles, and lots of love inside. And that is why you became… // the sweetest girl that I know.” Daddy’s plans to play ball resulted in the girl’s becoming a “fearless little sprite,” and her feet “tap in rhythm to the earth today” because her mom danced while pregnant. While these notions of inborn traits are unscientific to say the least, they will strike a chord with both new mothers and children, who love to hear about their beginnings. And the ending spreads tug heartstrings: “I felt your kicks and heartbeats as clearly as my own. And that is why, my baby, now that I no longer carry you in my belly… // I carry you in my heart, each day.” Chen’s seemingly digital illustrations portray an obviously loving family. Mother and daughter are light-brown–skinned brunettes, while dad has darker skin and close-cropped dark hair.

Umrigar’s flights of fancy may lead parents and children to ponder their own specific traits and what might have led to them (and hopefully a discussion of nature and nurture as well). (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6058-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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A visually striking, engaging picture book that sends the message that everyone counts.

ONE FAMILY

A playful counting book also acts as a celebration of family and human diversity.

Shannon’s text is delivered in spare, rhythmic, lilting verse that begins with one and counts up to 10 as it presents different groupings of things and people in individual families, always emphasizing the unitary nature of each combination. “One is six. One line of laundry. One butterfly’s legs. One family.” Gomez’s richly colored pictures clarify and expand on all that the text lists: For “six,” a picture showing six members of a multigenerational family of color includes a line of laundry with six items hanging from it outside of their windows, as well as the painting of a six-legged butterfly that a child in the family is creating. While text never directs the art to depict diverse individuals and family constellations, Gomez does just this in her illustrations. Interracial families are included, as are depictions of men with their arms around each other, and a Sikh man wearing a turban. This inclusive spirit supports the text’s culminating assertion that “One is one and everyone. One earth. One world. One family.”

A visually striking, engaging picture book that sends the message that everyone counts. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 26, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-374-30003-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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A cozy story that will transport readers to faraway places.

A GIFT FOR NANA

All gifts are perfect when they come from the heart.

Rabbit goes on a “journey through a green and grand forest” in order to get a gift for his nana even though it is “not even a major hare holiday.” He travels very far in search of the perfect gift and encounters many new friends whom he asks for help. Each of them proffers Rabbit something they can easily make or acquire: The moon offers a “crescent smile,” a whale proposes a glass of water, and so on. Ultimately, Rabbit finds the perfect gift for Nana all on his own, and his nana absolutely adores it. Although the story is a bit predictable, it is amusing—readers will laugh at the anthropomorphic volcano’s explosion and Rabbit’s exhaustion from his journey, among other chucklesome scenes. Smith’s gesso, oil, and cold wax illustrations are exquisite and almost ethereal. The friendly, many-eyed creature referred to as a “stickler” is at once haunting and intriguing. The moon is Tim Burton–esque and seems to glow and pop off the page. Pleased with his choice of gift, Rabbit has the moon’s smile on his face. The predominance of full-bleed double-page spreads accentuates Rabbit’s long quest. The different font sizes, styles, and colors will aid emerging readers with diction when reading aloud but might prove difficult for those with dyslexia. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A cozy story that will transport readers to faraway places. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-43033-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House Studio

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2022

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