Knit a hat and love thy neighbor

A HAT FOR MRS. GOLDMAN

A STORY ABOUT KNITTING AND LOVE

Intergenerational and neighborly love fills every page.

Mrs. Goldman, a white, Jewish woman, has always loved her Latina next-door neighbor, Sophia. She knit baby hats for her and still knits for all her neighbors. Sophia helps by making the pom-poms. “Keeping keppies warm is our mitzvah,” Mrs. Goldman tells her, explaining that a “keppie” (Yiddish) is a head and a “mitzvah” (Hebrew) is a good deed. But Sophia worries that her friend is so busy knitting for others that she leaves her own head too cold. Sophia wants to make a hat for Mrs. Goldman and finally succeeds after much frustration and many dropped stitches, tossing her needles into the air in a moment of triumph—almost. The hat is just not at all pretty, but many pom-poms will surely help…and the gift is delivered, complete with 20 pom-poms. Edwards’ story radiates warmth and coziness and is a delight to share. Karas, who learned to knit for this book, uses softly toned mixed media to showcase the wonderful affection between the little girl and the old lady. His endpapers are a swatch of garter stitches, uneven and dropped. Instructions for knitting the hat and decorating it are included, and every beginning (and experienced) knitter will find it a perfect project.

Knit a hat and love thy neighbor . (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-553-49710-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life.

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BE YOU!

An inspirational picture book offers life advice for readers who want to be themselves.

Replete with sparkling, often quirky illustrations of children living their best lives, this book is a gorgeous guidebook for those seeking encouragement while encountering life’s challenges. The children featured—a racially diverse group ranging from infants to preschoolers—cheerfully navigate the various injunctions that flow through the text: “Be curious.…Be adventurous.…Be persistent.…Be kind.” What is remarkable about the book is that even though the instructions and the brief sentences explaining them are at times vague, the illustrations expand on them in ways readers will find endearing and uplifting. Those depicting painful or challenging moments are especially effective. The “Be persistent” double-page spread shows a child in a boat on stormy seas; it’s rich with deep blues as it emphasizes the energy of wind and rain and struggle in the face of challenge. Together with the accompanying repeated phrase “Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop,” this spread arrests readers. By contrast, the “Be kind. Be understanding” spread simply presents two children’s faces, one cast in blue and the other in gold, but the empathy that Reynolds conveys is similarly captivating. While there is no plot to pull readers through the pages, the book provides rich fodder for caregivers to use as teachable moments, both informally and in classroom settings.

Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-57231-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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