Engaging but nevertheless commonplace.

THIS LOVE

“Love is a special language that’s understood by all.”

This book, with its simple rhyming text and colorful, painterly illustrations of children and adults in many countries, is a call for appreciating the diversity of families the world over. It starts with a multiracial family of three outside their brick apartment building in North America or Europe and ends when a new baby brother is added. The text is composed of simple messages of joy, familial strength, and friendship. Members of that first family show up in other double-page spreads, but the book ranges far and wide, without specifically identifying the countries illustrated. A grandmother shares a book with a small child in a Middle Eastern setting of comfortable patterned pillows. Another child goes to an African marketplace with a dog, while yet another child in a tropical Asian country learns about agriculture from a grandfather. Two male white parents watch fireworks from a bedroom window with their children in an unknown country. Other countries such as India, Iran, and a Caribbean island appear to be represented. Die cuts—the colored arcs of a rainbow turning into other shapes, then raindrops, then half of a crescent moon—contribute unevenly. The colorful hearts on the endpapers express this book’s well-worn but sincere sentiments exactly.

Engaging but nevertheless commonplace. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-68010-145-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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Uncomplicated and worthwhile for any age.

THE THANKFUL BOOK

Parr focuses his simplistic childlike art and declarative sentences on gratitude for the pleasures and wonders of a child’s everyday life.

Using images of both kids and animals, each colorful scene in bold primary colors declaims a reason to be thankful. “I am thankful for my hair because it makes me unique” shows a yellow-faced child with a wild purple coiffure, indicating self-esteem. An elephant with large pink ears happily exclaims, “I am thankful for my ears because they let me hear words like ‘I love you.’ ” Humor is interjected with, “I am thankful for underwear because I like to wear it on my head.” (Parents will hope that it is clean, but potty-humor–loving children probably won’t care.) Children are encouraged to be thankful for feet, music, school, vacations and the library, “because it is filled with endless adventures,” among other things. The book’s cheery, upbeat message is clearly meant to inspire optimistic gratitude; Parr exhorts children to “remember some [things to be thankful for] every day.”

Uncomplicated and worthwhile for any age. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-316-18101-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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Though books on childhood anxiety are numerous, it is worth making space on the shelf for this one.

WAY PAST WORRIED

Brock may be dressed like a superhero, but he sure doesn’t feel like one, as social anxieties threaten to rain on his fun    .

Juan’s superhero-themed birthday party is about to start, but Brock is feeling trepidatious about attending without his brother as his trusty sidekick. His costume does not fit quite right, and he is already running late, and soon Brock is “way past worried.” When he arrives at the party he takes some deep breaths but is still afraid to jump in and so hides behind a tree. Hiding in the same tree is the similarly nervous Nelly, who’s new to the neighborhood. Through the simple act of sharing their anxieties, the children find themselves ready to face their fears. This true-to-life depiction of social anxiety is simply but effectively rendered. While both Nelly and Brock try taking deep breathes to calm their anxieties without success, it is the act of sharing their worries in a safe space with someone who understands that ultimately brings relief. With similar themes, Brock’s tale would make a lovely companion for Tom Percival’s Ruby Finds a Worry (2019) on social-emotional–development bookshelves. Brock is depicted with black hair and tan skin, Nelly presents White, and peers at the party appear fairly diverse.

Though books on childhood anxiety are numerous, it is worth making space on the shelf for this one. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8075-8686-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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