The book’s belief in literacy simply shines through and will appeal to families in search of an attractively illustrated...

MOUSIE, I WILL READ TO YOU

Follow along as a little mouse is taught to love literacy.

Opening on a tiny mouse upon a parent’s lap, snoozing as the parent reads, the book shows how the inquisitive rodent grows into an independent reader “With a flashlight in your room / Reading a chapter book,” then an absorbed college student, and finally the parent of his own little book lover, creating a sentimental ode to lifelong literacy. Hidden within the sweeping, flowery language are step-by-step directions for encouraging emergent literacy: building receptive and expressive language skills with rich vocabulary; modeling complex sentences; regularly sharing songs, stories, and poetry; curating print-rich environments; and utilizing local libraries. It’s a comprehensive list, and grown-ups may appreciate the helpful coaching, especially the “tips for raising readers” appendix. Preschool children, however, may not be entranced by the lengthy free-verse poetry, high-level vocabulary and aspirational direct address of the wise adult guiding a child. If the earnest text is a little message-heavy, the vintage-style digital illustrations help make the medicine go down. Stylishly rendered in dappled, desaturated colors and with oversized ears and lengthy curled tails, the mice are a blend of sophisticated and sweet. Chunky scarves, retro toys, warm domestic scenes and lively playground action bring the mouse’s world to life.

The book’s belief in literacy simply shines through and will appeal to families in search of an attractively illustrated parenting manual. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-1536-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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A cozy story that will transport readers to faraway places.

A GIFT FOR NANA

All gifts are perfect when they come from the heart.

Rabbit goes on a “journey through a green and grand forest” in order to get a gift for his nana even though it is “not even a major hare holiday.” He travels very far in search of the perfect gift and encounters many new friends whom he asks for help. Each of them proffers Rabbit something they can easily make or acquire: The moon offers a “crescent smile,” a whale proposes a glass of water, and so on. Ultimately, Rabbit finds the perfect gift for Nana all on his own, and his nana absolutely adores it. Although the story is a bit predictable, it is amusing—readers will laugh at the anthropomorphic volcano’s explosion and Rabbit’s exhaustion from his journey, among other chucklesome scenes. Smith’s gesso, oil, and cold wax illustrations are exquisite and almost ethereal. The friendly, many-eyed creature referred to as a “stickler” is at once haunting and intriguing. The moon is Tim Burton–esque and seems to glow and pop off the page. Pleased with his choice of gift, Rabbit has the moon’s smile on his face. The predominance of full-bleed double-page spreads accentuates Rabbit’s long quest. The different font sizes, styles, and colors will aid emerging readers with diction when reading aloud but might prove difficult for those with dyslexia. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A cozy story that will transport readers to faraway places. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-43033-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House Studio

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2022

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An uplifting, rhyming picture book offering food for the soul.

A SPOONFUL OF FAITH

A mother teaches her daughter a special recipe to help feed her faith.

Layla, a young, brown-skinned girl, is ready yet nervous for her first day of school. Seeking a confidence boost, she goes in search of her mom—“’Cause mamas can help / when you need love and calm”—and finds her in the kitchen. “Hey, sweetie, sit here / Let’s make a quick meal / that’s full of good things / to help how you feel,” her mother suggests and fishes out a recipe book. The recipe for the meal includes many ingredients, but none of them are tangible. Instead, courage, “a spoonful of faith,” “dashes of kindness,” “handfuls of hope,” “pinches of prayers,” and warm hugs go into the mixing bowl. To concretize these virtues, the artwork uses a visual motif of hearts and flowers. Once the meal is ready, Layla hesitantly looks into the bowl, unsure what to make of the imaginary repast, but a word of wisdom from Mama helps her realize the true source of her emotional sustenance and strength. The illustrations, created using digital watercolor, pencil, and gouache brushes in Procreate, are soothing, with soft pastel colors. While God is mentioned, there are no references to any specific religion.

An uplifting, rhyming picture book offering food for the soul. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-301781-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

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