An astute tale of emotions, empathy, and redemption.

WAY PAST JEALOUS

From the Great Big Feelings series

When Yaz draws the best picture she’s ever drawn in her life, she’s excited—until she realizes that everyone in her class is paying attention to her friend Debby’s drawing and not hers.

Things get even worse when Yaz’s teacher, Miss Pimmy, hangs Debby’s picture of a dog on the Stars of the Week board but doesn’t notice Yaz’s drawing at all. Overcome by jealousy, Yaz starts acting unkindly toward both her friends and herself. When Debby saves her a seat at lunch, Yaz ignores her and sits elsewhere. When their friends talk about how much like Debby’s dogs those in their drawings look, Yaz spills her drink on their pictures. Worst of all, Yaz leaves lunch early so she can remove Debby’s picture from the Stars of the Week board, which breaks Debby’s heart. None of these actions makes Yaz feel better—if anything, they make her feel worse—but she isn’t sure how to fix the mess she’s made. Eventually, Yaz realizes that she doesn’t really care about being on the Stars of the Week board: What she cares about is Debby. But how will she fix the mistakes she made and get her friendship back? This frank portrait of childhood jealousy is both a compelling story and a perfect teaching tool. The protagonist’s journey is authentic and accessible, making it a great way to start a conversation about big feelings. While the text makes no mention of race, the brightly colored illustrations render the cast diverse: Yaz has brown skin and black hair, and Debby appears to be Black. Companion title Way Past Sad looks at the grief experienced by two best friends about to be separated by a move.

An astute tale of emotions, empathy, and redemption. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8075-8678-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

As insubstantial as hot air.

THE WORLD NEEDS WHO YOU WERE MADE TO BE

A diverse cast of children first makes a fleet of hot air balloons and then takes to the sky in them.

Lifestyle maven Gaines uses this activity as a platform to celebrate diversity in learning and working styles. Some people like to work together; others prefer a solo process. Some take pains to plan extensively; others know exactly what they want and jump right in. Some apply science; others demonstrate artistic prowess. But “see how beautiful it can be when / our differences share the same sky?” Double-page spreads leading up to this moment of liftoff are laid out such that rhyming abcb quatrains typically contain one or two opposing concepts: “Some of us are teachers / and share what we know. / But all of us are learners. / Together is how we grow!” In the accompanying illustration, a bespectacled, Asian-presenting child at a blackboard lectures the other children on “balloon safety.” Gaines’ text has the ring of sincerity, but the sentiment is hardly an original one, and her verse frequently sacrifices scansion for rhyme. Sometimes it abandons both: “We may not look / or work or think the same, / but we all have an / important part to play.” Swaney’s delicate, pastel-hued illustrations do little to expand on the text, but they are pretty. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11.2-by-18.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 70.7% of actual size.)

As insubstantial as hot air. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4003-1423-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tommy Nelson

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Inspiration, shrink wrapped.

WHAT THE ROAD SAID

From an artist, poet, and Instagram celebrity, a pep talk for all who question where a new road might lead.

Opening by asking readers, “Have you ever wanted to go in a different direction,” the unnamed narrator describes having such a feeling and then witnessing the appearance of a new road “almost as if it were magic.” “Where do you lead?” the narrator asks. The Road’s twice-iterated response—“Be a leader and find out”—bookends a dialogue in which a traveler’s anxieties are answered by platitudes. “What if I fall?” worries the narrator in a stylized, faux hand-lettered type Wade’s Instagram followers will recognize. The Road’s dialogue and the narration are set in a chunky, sans-serif type with no quotation marks, so the one flows into the other confusingly. “Everyone falls at some point, said the Road. / But I will always be there when you land.” Narrator: “What if the world around us is filled with hate?” Road: “Lead it to love.” Narrator: “What if I feel stuck?” Road: “Keep going.” De Moyencourt illustrates this colloquy with luminous scenes of a small, brown-skinned child, face turned away from viewers so all they see is a mop of blond curls. The child steps into an urban mural, walks along a winding country road through broad rural landscapes and scary woods, climbs a rugged metaphorical mountain, then comes to stand at last, Little Prince–like, on a tiny blue and green planet. Wade’s closing claim that her message isn’t meant just for children is likely superfluous…in fact, forget the just.

Inspiration, shrink wrapped. (Picture book. 6-8, adult)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26949-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more