HELPING HOSPITAL

A COMMUNITY HELPERS BOOK

Three children visit a local hospital for different reasons to help kids learn about medical care and personnel.

Emmy accompanies her mom for a regular maternity checkup that ends up with her mom going into labor and giving birth to her new brother. Leo arrives with his dad. He broke his arm and must go to X-ray and then gets a cast and a sling. Annabelle comes with her mom for a regular pediatric visit and a shot. These racially diverse kids visit a large hospital with lots of specialized (and similarly diverse) personnel, all of whom are pictured and labeled with their official titles. On some pages, the positions are defined. Some of the medical equipment is also labeled and defined, including the ultrasound equipment showing Emmy’s baby brother and the X-ray machine used to diagnose Leo’s arm. Pictures of these images will be of great interest to many young viewers. While the stylized illustrations thoroughly document the workings of this hospital and the narrative story about these three children could be interesting, these elements are undermined by the sheer volume of information that is being presented. The kids all look pretty young, and community-helper units are usually done in early-elementary grades. The specificity of the job titles (otolaryngologist, endocrinologist, cardiovascular nurse) and the large number of employees both mentioned and pictured create a mismatch between book and audience. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Accurate but overstuffed. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-308139-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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Precious—but timely and comforting all the same.

WHILE WE CAN'T HUG

From the Hedgehog and Tortoise Story series

The two creatures who fulfilled each other’s yearning for physical contact in The Hug (2019) find alternative ways to connect in a time of social distancing.

Blushing and smiling and looking every bit as sweet as they did in their original meet-cute, Hedgehog and Tortoise respond to Owl’s reassurance that “there are lots of ways to show someone you love them” by standing on opposing pages and sending signals, letters, dances, air kisses, and songs across the gutter. Demonstrating their mutual love and friendship, they regard each other fondly across the gap through sun and storm, finally gesturing air hugs beneath a rainbow of colors and stars. “They could not touch. / They could not hug. // But they both knew / that they were loved.” In line with the minimalist narrative and illustrations there is no mention of the enforced separation’s cause nor, aside from the titular conjunction, any hint of its possible duration. Still, its core affirmation is delivered in a simple, direct, unmistakable way, and if the thematic connection with the previous outing seems made to order for a marketing opportunity, it does address a widespread emotional need in young (and maybe not so young) audiences. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9.8-by-19.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 78% of actual size.)

Precious—but timely and comforting all the same. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-5713-6558-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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It’s hard to judge intent, but even if this might provide lighthearted reassurance for young squinters, it’s going to leave...

I CAN SEE JUST FINE

Repeatedly uttering the titular protest, a child is dragged off to “see” the eye doctor in this neatly drawn, too neatly resolved take on a common experience.

Paige’s inability to make out what’s on the class chalkboard is just one of a set of symptoms that trigger a day off from school, an eye exam, a chance to try on a zillion pairs of eyeglass frames and, after a fitting, a whole new, sharply focused world. But if the textual narrative is pretty straightforward, the visual subtext is not. The climactic fuzzy-to-sharp spread implies that Paige’s affliction is really no more than simple myopia, but cues scattered through Barclay’s bright, simple cartoon illustrations point, if apparently unintentionally, to more complex vision (or other) problems. Paige wears mismatched shoes of different colors; in one scene, she “reads” a book held upside down; most egregiously, she happily cuddles a “kitty” that is actually a skunk (later, she identifies it correctly and still cuddles it). Even the final scene, in which Paige pours orange juice into her breakfast cereal while disagreeing with her mother’s remark that her glasses are too dirty to see through, doesn’t quite come off as a joke.

It’s hard to judge intent, but even if this might provide lighthearted reassurance for young squinters, it’s going to leave more observant parents and other caregivers disquieted, at best. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0801-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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