From the peacock on the front cover to the daffodil on the back, this visual treat will inspire budding artists and poets.

BLOOMING BENEATH THE SUN

Adults who fondly remember “Who Has Seen the Wind?” will be delighted to introduce a new generation to some of Rossetti’s child-friendly poems.

Bryan brings fresh life to thirteen of the 19th-century British poet’s least dreary and most accessible poems. Vibrant blossoms on the inside covers hint at the fun inside. This is a celebration of nature and language crafted from cut construction paper. Bryan expands Rossetti’s metaphoric images with unconventional color choices that stretch the imagination. For example, the dog in “Pussy Has a Whiskered Face” is tan, pink, gray, and white, while kitty is all the colors of fire: orange, yellow, brown, and red. Human faces are not limited to shades of brown, black, or tan either. The detailed collages add layers of meaning to each short verse. The eight small collages that illustrate “Color” (at just 16 lines, the longest poem) clearly reference each couplet. Regardless of length, each poem is allotted a double spread. Less-familiar poems include “Mother Shake the Cherry Tree,” “Peacock Has a Score of Eyes,” and “Lie-a-Bed.” Carefully placed text guides readers’ eyes, and contrasting type colors help both titles and text stand out against the bright backgrounds.

From the peacock on the front cover to the daffodil on the back, this visual treat will inspire budding artists and poets. (biographical note) (Picture book/poetry. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4092-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants.

A WORLD TOGETHER

Large color photographs (occasionally composed of montages) and accessible, simple text highlight global similarities and differences, always focusing on our universal connections.

While child readers may not recognize Manzano, the Puerto Rican actress who played Maria on Sesame Street, adults will recognize her as a trusted diverse voice. In her endnote, she explains her desire to “encourage lively conversations about shared experiences.” Starting out with the familiar, home and community, the text begins with “How many WONDERFUL PEOPLE do you know?” Then it moves out to the world: “Did you know there are about 8 BILLION PEOPLE on the planet?” The photo essay features the usual concrete similarities and differences found in many books of this type, such as housing (a Mongolian yurt opposite a Hong Kong apartment building overlooking a basketball court), food (dumplings, pizza, cotton candy, a churro, etc.), and school. Manzano also makes sure to point out likenesses in emotions, as shown in a montage of photos from countries including China, Spain, Kashmir (Pakistan/India), and the United States. At the end, a world map and thumbnail images show the locations of all photos, revealing a preponderance of examples from the U.S. and a slight underrepresentation for Africa and South America.

Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3738-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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Self-serving to be sure but also chock-full of worthy values and sentiments.

SUPERHEROES ARE EVERYWHERE

The junior senator from California introduces family and friends as everyday superheroes.

The endpapers are covered with cascades of, mostly, early childhood snapshots (“This is me contemplating the future”—caregivers of toddlers will recognize that abstracted look). In between, Harris introduces heroes in her life who have shaped her character: her mom and dad, whose superpowers were, respectively, to make her feel special and brave; an older neighbor known for her kindness; grandparents in India and Jamaica who “[stood] up for what’s right” (albeit in unspecified ways); other relatives and a teacher who opened her awareness to a wider world; and finally iconic figures such as Thurgood Marshall and Constance Baker Motley who “protected people by using the power of words and ideas” and whose examples inspired her to become a lawyer. “Heroes are…YOU!” she concludes, closing with a bulleted Hero Code and a timeline of her legal and political career that ends with her 2017 swearing-in as senator. In group scenes, some of the figures in the bright, simplistic digital illustrations have Asian features, some are in wheelchairs, nearly all are people of color. Almost all are smiling or grinning. Roe provides everyone identified as a role model with a cape and poses the author, who is seen at different ages wearing an identifying heart pin or decoration, next to each.

Self-serving to be sure but also chock-full of worthy values and sentiments. (Picture book/memoir. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-984837-49-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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