A quiet, contemplative story that reminds readers to pause and enjoy the view.

A WAY WITH WILD THINGS

Theule and Palacios bring a seeming wallflower to the fore.

Poppy Ann Fields likes bugs more than most other humans. With bugs, she can sit and quietly observe their amazing tiny worlds. At parties with people, Poppy prefers to blend in with her surroundings, hiding away and avoiding others and going about in her own pensive way—until a dragonfly alights on Grandma Phyllis’ 100th birthday cake. Poppy claps her hands in joy to see another arthropod friend, but her cheerful applause gets the attention of Uncle Dan, and soon the whole clan who have gathered to celebrate are looking at her. Poppy freezes but chooses to focus on the dragonfly, now sitting softly in her hand. In this moment Grandma Phyllis helps Poppy to see that she is no wallflower but instead truly a wildflower. Theule’s gentle storytelling reveals that what others may consider weaknesses, like Poppy’s quiet and keen observation, may actually be our greatest strengths. Palacios’ cheery illustrations are bright and playful but softly textured, a perfect match for our protagonist’s bright-eyed yet introverted curiosity. Poppy’s dark hair and medium-brown complexion make her ethnicity somewhat vague, and her extended family appears to be quite diverse.

A quiet, contemplative story that reminds readers to pause and enjoy the view. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68119-039-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

YOU MATTER

Employing a cast of diverse children reminiscent of that depicted in Another (2019), Robinson shows that every living entity has value.

After opening endpapers that depict an aerial view of a busy playground, the perspective shifts to a black child, ponytails tied with beaded elastics, peering into a microscope. So begins an exercise in perspective. From those bits of green life under the lens readers move to “Those who swim with the tide / and those who don’t.” They observe a “pest”—a mosquito biting a dinosaur, a “really gassy” planet, and a dog whose walker—a child in a pink hijab—has lost hold of the leash. Periodically, the examples are validated with the titular refrain. Textured paint strokes and collage elements contrast with uncluttered backgrounds that move from white to black to white. The black pages in the middle portion foreground scenes in space, including a black astronaut viewing Earth; the astronaut is holding an image of another black youngster who appears on the next spread flying a toy rocket and looking lonely. There are many such visual connections, creating emotional interest and invitations for conversation. The story’s conclusion spins full circle, repeating opening sentences with new scenarios. From the microscopic to the cosmic, word and image illuminate the message without a whiff of didacticism.

Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2169-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A cute, Halloween-y take on the old dare-to-be-you moral.

HARDLY HAUNTED

What could be worse for a house than to be haunted? Unless….

“There was a house on a hill, and that house was worried.” Overgrown with vines and frequented by a curious black cat, the abandoned abode fears that she will remain unoccupied because of her eerie countenance. Supplying the house with rounded, third-story windows and exterior molding that shift to express emotions, Sima takes readers through a tour of the house’s ominous interior. At first, the enchanted homestead tries to suppress her creaky walls, squeaky stairs, and rattling pipes. Despite all efforts to keep “VERY still. And VERY quiet. And VERY calm,” the house comes to find that being a rather creepy residence might actually be fun. The realization dawns on the decrepit dwelling with both relief and joy: “She liked being noisy. Maybe she liked being haunted.” Once the house embraces herself for who she is, the plot moves in a pleasant yet predictable direction: A cheerful family of ghosts loves the house in all her noisy glory and decides to move in. Sima’s lighthearted, cartoony style and cozy palette disarm the book of any frightening elements. The gentle, upbeat vibe makes it a fair choice to remind kids that their differences from others are the key to their belonging. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A cute, Halloween-y take on the old dare-to-be-you moral. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4170-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more