LOVING KINDNESS

A meditative picture book devoted to honoring a sense of oneness with the world.

The book opens with a direct address to an unnamed baby of color: “You are a blessing. You are beautiful just as you are. You are loved, and you love.” Subsequent pages show the baby cradled and nurtured in an extended family. The art style is arrestingly simple, with human characters akin to those found in Christian Robinson’s work, though the colors overall, particularly backgrounds, are generally more saturated than his typically are. Following this celebration of the baby, the text’s refrains repeat with a new pronoun, she, to focus on a big sister—perhaps the baby has grown, or perhaps this is the baby’s older sibling; it’s open to interpretation. After the pages devoted to her, the pronoun shifts to they to introduce horses who join the children in the brightly colored illustrations. Finally, spreads about “everyone” bring the children together with a group of animals on “the earth that connects us all”—a phrase that concludes each segment. In the final iteration, two enormous green hands cradle children and animals, including lion, polar bear, giraffe, kangaroo and more, as whales, and other sea creatures swim beneath. The effect is to create a peaceable kingdom of loving kindness that acknowledges interconnectedness in soothing, gentle spreads. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A loving kind of book. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-21720-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Godwin Books/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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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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Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for...

OLIVER AND HIS EGG

Oliver, of first-day-of-school alligator fame, is back, imagining adventures and still struggling to find balance between introversion and extroversion.

“When Oliver found his egg…” on the playground, mint-green backgrounds signifying Oliver’s flight into fancy slowly grow larger until they take up entire spreads; Oliver’s creature, white and dinosaurlike with orange polka dots, grows larger with them. Their adventures include sharing treats, sailing the seas and going into outer space. A classmate’s yell brings him back to reality, where readers see him sitting on top of a rock. Even considering Schmid’s scribbly style, readers can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he ponders the girl and whether or not to give up his solitary play. “But when Oliver found his rock… // Oliver imagined many adventures // with all his friends!” This last is on a double gatefold that opens to show the children enjoying the creature’s slippery curves. A final wordless spread depicts all the children sitting on rocks, expressions gleeful, wondering, waiting, hopeful. The illustrations, done in pastel pencil and digital color, again make masterful use of white space and page turns, although this tale is not nearly as funny or tongue-in-cheek as Oliver and His Alligator (2013), nor is its message as clear and immediately accessible to children.

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for all children but sadly isn’t. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7573-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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