One unique picture book with much to say equals quite a lot.

ONE IS A LOT (EXCEPT WHEN IT'S NOT)

This Canadian import creatively explores concepts of a lot and a little, enough and not enough, through a seemingly simple story set in a lush, green park in summertime.

Each page or spread of the story includes a brief, declarative sentence beginning with a numeral: 0, 1, or 2. For example, “1 sun is a lot.” A frisky squirrel finds that one huge oak tree or one acorn is a lot. But two acorns can be too much to hold onto. For two children walking their dogs in the park, two leashes are too much when those leashes become tangled. This pair of children meet and become friends, sharing one umbrella and playing with a ball. One has brown skin and black, curly hair; the other has light skin and brown hair swept back in an unusual style. One acorn falls into a puddle as the children play, and over the concluding pages, that acorn sprouts and grows into an oak tree. In the final spread, the two children are now a grown-up couple with a child and dog of their own, having a family picnic under the tree that grew from just one acorn. Other people in the park include children and adults of different races. The thoughtful, minimalist text offers subtle insights into perceptions from different viewpoints as well as opportunities for discussion and interpretation. Appealing illustrations with the look of watercolors capture the humor of the situations in the park and smoothly convey multiple secondary plotlines.

One unique picture book with much to say equals quite a lot. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0013-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Certain to become a favorite bedtime book.

EVERYBODY IN THE RED BRICK BUILDING

A crying baby sets off a chain reaction of responses from the neighbors she wakes in the red brick building.

Baby Izzie wakes up in the night with a “WaaaAAH!” Her wail wakes not only those in her apartment, but also neighbor Rayhan, who inadvertently wakes his parrot, who announces: “RraaK! WAKE UP!” The parrot’s squawks and baby’s cries wake more and more neighbors, who rouse others in the building until everyone is awake and contributing to the late-night hullabaloo. Finally, Pepper the cat manages to set off a car alarm that yells “WEE YOOO WEEEE YOOOOO!!!!” into the night. Eventually, all the neighbors—a testament to urban diversity—settle down from the excitement and return to bed. Each is lulled by soft, gentle sounds that begin with the “shhh shhh” of a street sweeper, the “plonk plonk” of falling acorns, and the “ting ting” of a wind chime. The onomatopoeia in this cumulative tale is appropriate for the actions described and is so much fun to read. Mora’s beautiful, vivid geometric illustrations incorporate the onomatopoeia in the first half of the story. They sprawl across spreads and invite loud reading but are absent by the time the story begins to make its turn back to the starting point. That “shhh shhh” sound from the street sweeper brings calm and quiet to the activity in the red brick building—and, as if by magic, readers as well. Sotto voce: very well done! (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Certain to become a favorite bedtime book. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-286576-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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Charming characters, a clever plot and a quiet message tucked inside a humorous tale.

YOU ARE (NOT) SMALL

From the You Are (Not) Small series

Fuzzy, bearlike creatures of different sizes relate to one another in an amusing story that explores the relative nature of size.

A small purple creature meets a similarly shaped but much larger orange critter. The purple creature maintains that the orange creature is “big”; the orange one counters by calling the purple one “small.” This continues, devolving into a very funny shouting match, pages full of each type of creature hollering across the gutter. This is followed by a show-stopping double-page spread depicting two huge, blue legs and the single word “Boom!” in huge display type. Tiny, pink critters then float down by parachute, further complicating the size comparisons. Eventually, these brightly colored animals learn to see things in a different way. In the end, they decide they are all hungry and trudge off to eat together. The story is told effectively with just a few words per page, though younger readers might need help understanding the size and perspective concepts. Cartoon-style illustrations in ink and watercolor use simple shapes with heavy black outlines set off by lots of white space, with an oversized format and large typeface adding to the spare but polished design. While the story itself seems simple, the concepts are pertinent to several important social issues such as bullying and racism, as well as understanding point of view.

Charming characters, a clever plot and a quiet message tucked inside a humorous tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 5, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4772-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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