A cleverly designed, engaging picture book about the joy of text.

YOU ARE A READER! / YOU ARE A WRITER!

If you love reading, writing, listening to, or telling stories, then this book is for you!

Learning to read can be challenging—vowels in particular can be confusing—but with enough practice and the right strategies, the narrator assures readers, everyone can learn not only how to read, but also how to enjoy it. The narrator emphasizes that even if books are not for everyone, there are many other exciting reading materials: magazines, recipes, maps, and even labels at museums. Writing, like reading, can be tricky and also requires patience and practice. But, like reading, writing, once mastered, can open up all kinds of creative opportunities, from writing songs or poems to composing slogans or text messages. This cleverly designed picture book is actually two rhyming stories, bound back to back. The stories meet in the middle on a page with text printed in a circle that repeats the mantra that “readers are writers and writers are readers.” This innovative design reinforces the book’s central ideas: that reading and writing go together and that, fundamentally, every child is capable of creativity. While there is no protagonist per se, Davenier’s loose, humorously informal illustrations include diverse characters with varied skin colors, hair textures, and abilities. Taken together, the text and pictures articulate a quirky, inspirational call to creative action that is sure to empower young children to explore the wild world of words.

A cleverly designed, engaging picture book about the joy of text. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4625-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history.

THE SCARECROW

Ferry and the Fans portray a popular seasonal character’s unlikely friendship.

Initially, the protagonist is shown in his solitary world: “Scarecrow stands alone and scares / the fox and deer, / the mice and crows. / It’s all he does. It’s all he knows.” His presence is effective; the animals stay outside the fenced-in fields, but the omniscient narrator laments the character’s lack of friends or places to go. Everything changes when a baby crow falls nearby. Breaking his pole so he can bend, the scarecrow picks it up, placing the creature in the bib of his overalls while singing a lullaby. Both abandon natural tendencies until the crow learns to fly—and thus departs. The aabb rhyme scheme flows reasonably well, propelling the narrative through fall, winter, and spring, when the mature crow returns with a mate to build a nest in the overalls bib that once was his home. The Fan brothers capture the emotional tenor of the seasons and the main character in their panoramic pencil, ballpoint, and digital compositions. Particularly poignant is the close-up of the scarecrow’s burlap face, his stitched mouth and leaf-rimmed head conveying such sadness after his companion goes. Some adults may wonder why the scarecrow seems to have only partial agency, but children will be tuned into the problem, gratified by the resolution.

A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-247576-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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A cozy read for bibliophiles.

SNOWMAN'S STORY

With echoes of “Frosty the Snowman” in the background, a snowman’s storybook within this wordless book delivers a comic wintertime romp.

Woodland creatures build a snowman, giving him a green book as a finishing touch. This addition comes right after a windswept top hat lands on his head, vivifying him à la Frosty. Hidden inside is a rabbit (it is a magic hat, after all); attentive readers will have seen the hat first on frontmatter pages and then with the bunny in the double-page spreads before the early ones devoted to the snowman’s construction. The snowman reads his book aloud to the animals, with the rabbit surreptitiously listening in, its ears poking out of the top of the hat. When the others all drift off to sleep, the bunny emerges and steals away with the book. A chase ensues across snowy terrain and through a series of pages (perhaps a few too many for good pacing) replete with comic-style panels. When the animals and snowman confront the rabbit in its tree-hollow home, its motivation for book thievery is revealed: This bunny has a family and wishes to share the story with its children. All’s well that ends well, and the animals convene (safely outside and away from the rabbit family’s crackling fireplace) to read together.

A cozy read for bibliophiles. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4787-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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