This interesting attempt to make Mr. Rogers’ wisdom broadly accessible may wind up mainly reinforcing the importance of his...

A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD

THE POETRY OF MISTER ROGERS

A collection of the lyrics to 75 songs composed by the beloved children’s-television personality.

Readers and listeners who’ve heard these words sung by their creator seem likely to be the most appreciative audience for the earnest messages, lighthearted flights of fancy, and familiar phrases found in the poems gathered here. Caregivers may wish to search out a specific song to introduce (or reinforce) a discussion about a typical childhood experience or difficulty. Poems encouraging a strong sense of self abound, as do those that reassure young children that they can manage their emotions as they continue to learn and grow. Because of the thematic emphasis on healthy development, however, this is more a resource than a collection that would invite casual browsing. Unfortunately, without the melodies, some of the poems lack obvious rhythm. And, as songs often do, some feature repeating phrases or verses. Both of these factors further weaken the book’s potential appeal as a general poetry collection. Flowers’ illustrations are energetic and feature characters from the iconic television show as well as vignettes of young children and spot drawings of everyday objects. The pictures tie the collection even more closely to their source and may spark some interest, but they do little to extend or expand the meaning of the text.

This interesting attempt to make Mr. Rogers’ wisdom broadly accessible may wind up mainly reinforcing the importance of his presence to its success. (index) (Poetry. 3-8)

Pub Date: March 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68369-113-6

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Quirk Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2019

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Despite the name recognition of the author and relevance of the story, sweet yet inconsequential.

I COLOR MYSELF DIFFERENT

A debut picture book from the NFL quarterback who took a knee during the national anthem.

Kaepernick speaks directly to children about growing up Black in a White family. The story focuses on one incident: When he shares a drawing of his adoptive family with his class, other students ask why he’s the only brown-skinned one. But with reassurance from his mother, young Colin realizes he should take pride in his identity. Although he says, “I don’t know too many kids who look like me,” the bland, somewhat idealized illustrations show a classroom with children with a variety of skin tones, and the teacher is Black. The story includes a rather simplistic explanation of what it means to be adopted: “Ever since Mom wrapped me in that warm hug, I knew having brown skin and being adopted made me special.” Kaepernick adds, “I have brown eyes, a brown nose, and brown hands...just like the people who inspire, create, lead, and change the world.” The accompanying illustration depicts nine African American historical figures, including athletes famous for taking political stands: Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who raised their fists at the 1968 Olympics, and Muhammad Ali, as well as Huey Newton, Toni Morrison, Angela Davis, Audre Lorde, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, and Malcolm X. The historical roles of these individuals are explained in a brief addendum. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Despite the name recognition of the author and relevance of the story, sweet yet inconsequential. (“letter to the reader”) (Picture-book biography. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 5, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-78962-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2022

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Thoughts always inform actions; if we can help youngsters see individuals instead of differences, there’s hope.

WHAT IF EVERYBODY THOUGHT THAT?

From the What If Everybody? series

Thinking mean-spirited thoughts can be just as damaging as saying them out loud.

Javernick and Madden pair up once again (What If Everybody Did That?, 2010 and What If Everybody Said That?, 2018), this time to address bullying in a school setting. One hopes that all schools are diverse with regard to both culture and ability, but it can be difficult to help students see beyond differences. Javernick poses scenarios in which children exhibit varying physical disabilities, learning disabilities, medical conditions, and more. A group of children is often depicted scrutinizing one (four taller kids in gym class look to a shorter one, thinking, “He’s too little to play basketball” and “He’ll NEVER get that ball in the hoop”) as the titular phrase asks, “What if EVERYBODY thought that?” The following spread reads, “They might be wrong” as vignettes show the tiny tot zipping around everyone and scoring. If one sees someone using a wheelchair and automatically thinks, “Too bad she can’t be in the relay race”—well, “they might be wrong.” The (literal) flipside offered to each scenario teaches children to be aware of these automatic assumptions and hopefully change perceptions. Madden’s mixed-media illustrations show a diverse array of characters and have intentional, positive messages hidden within, sometimes scratched in chalk on the ground or hanging up in a frame on a classroom wall.

Thoughts always inform actions; if we can help youngsters see individuals instead of differences, there’s hope. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9137-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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