Skip the narrator’s distraction and just enjoy all the familiar allusions.

LITTLE BO PEEP AND HER BAD, BAD SHEEP

A MOTHER GOOSE HULLABALOO

As a narrator tries to recite “Little Bo Peep,” chaos erupts.

Though it won’t be clear to readers whether Bo Peep herself or the people and animals that populate these pages are the ones causing the narrator so much angst, it likely won’t matter—they will be too busy pointing out and searching for clever references to Mother Goose rhymes hidden in the illustrations: Bo Peep’s lost sheep steal the mittens of the Three Little Kittens, an annoying fly is shooed on almost every spread (eventually to be swallowed by an old woman), and the farmer’s wife is threatening the blind mice with her knife. Very observant readers will be able to follow the individual stories of several characters as they go about their business—the kittens trying to get their mittens back, the Little Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe shopping—but most of the illustrations reflect the hullabaloo of the subtitle. Flowers’ artwork is busy indeed—share one on one, as the pictures require poring over—but for children who stick with it, surprises abound. And for those not up to speed on their nursery rhymes, four spreads of backmatter give the text for each of the 39 rhymes along with a thumbnail illustration so readers can go back and find them.

Skip the narrator’s distraction and just enjoy all the familiar allusions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62370-501-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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There’s always tomorrow.

TOMORROW IS WAITING

A lyrical message of perseverance and optimism.

The text uses direct address, which the title- and final-page illustrations suggest comes from an adult voice, to offer inspiration and encouragement. The opening spreads reads, “Tonight as you sleep, a new day stirs. / Each kiss good night is a wish for tomorrow,” as the accompanying art depicts a child with black hair and light skin asleep in a bed that’s fantastically situated in a stylized landscape of buildings, overpasses, and roadways. The effect is dreamlike, in contrast with the next illustration, of a child of color walking through a field and blowing dandelion fluff at sunrise. Until the last spread, each child depicted in a range of settings is solitary. Some visual metaphors falter in terms of credibility, as in the case of a white-appearing child using a wheelchair in an Antarctic ice cave strewn with obstacles, as the text reads “you’ll explore the world, only feeling lost in your imagination.” Others are oblique in attempted connections between text and art. How does a picture of a pale-skinned, black-haired child on a bridge in the rain evoke “first moments that will dance with you”? But the image of a child with pink skin and brown hair scaling a wall as text reads “there will be injustice that will challenge you, and it will surprise you how brave you can be” is clearer.

There’s always tomorrow. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-101-99437-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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A lyrical coming-of-age story in picture-book form that begs to be shared.

IMAGINE

Former Poet Laureate Herrera encourages his young readers to imagine all they might be in his new picture book.

Herrera’s free verse tells his own story, starting as a young boy who loves the plants and animals he finds outdoors in the California fields and is then thrust into the barren, concrete city. In the city he begins to learn to read and write, learning English and discovering a love for words and the way ink flows “like tiny rivers” across the page as he applies pen to paper. Words soon become sentences, poems, lyrics, and a means of escape. This love of the word ultimately leads him to make writing his vocation and to become the first Chicano Poet Laureate of the United States, an honor Herrera received in 2015. Through this story of hardship to success, expressed in a series of conditional statements that all begin “If I,” Herrera implores his readers to “imagine what you could do.” Castillo’s ink and foam monoprint illustrations are a tender accompaniment to Herrera’s verse, the black lines of her illustrations flowing across the page in rhythm with the author’s poetry. Together this makes for a charming read-aloud for groups or a child snuggled in a lap.

A lyrical coming-of-age story in picture-book form that begs to be shared. (Picture book/memoir. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9052-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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