Illustrating his points with pairs of bright, informally drawn and colored cartoons featuring recognizable dinos in modern...

DINOSAURS DON'T, DINOSAURS DO

From the I Like To Read series

Straightforward behavior modeling for newly fledged independent readers.

Illustrating his points with pairs of bright, informally drawn and colored cartoons featuring recognizable dinos in modern playgrounds and other familiar settings, Björkman contrasts bad manners with better ones. “Dinosaurs don’t eat like this. Dinosaurs eat like this.” (A marmalade T. Rex tosses syrupy pancakes into his mouth, spattering goo everywhere, while at the other end of the table, a hadrosaur politely offers the syrup to a pterodactyl; both have bite-sized pieces of pancake poised on forks.) “Dinosaurs don’t hit or bite. When they are mad, dinosaurs use words.” (That troublesome T. Rex pounds a purple, horned dinosaur, having already bitten off its tail; meanwhile, a green Dimetrodon mildly points out to an apologetic, brown Ankylosaurus that the latter broke his toy.) Summing up his message with a version of the Golden Rule (“Dinosaurs treat others as they want to be treated. That is why everyone loves dinosaurs!”) and steering clear of any direct or indirect reference to the possibility of punishment, the author leaves it to readers to make their choices on a moral or ethical basis. Though unlikely on its own to spark any revolutionary changes in behavior, this approach does at least provide a starting point for reflection or discussion.

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2355-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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A shining affirmation of Chinese American identity.

I AM GOLDEN

An immigrant couple’s empowering love letter to their child.

Baby Mei rests in her parents’ embrace, flanked by Chinese architecture on one side and the New York skyline on the other. She will be a bridge across the “oceans and worlds and cultures” that separate her parents from their homeland, China. Mei—a Chinese word which means beautiful—shares a name with her family’s new home: Měi Guó (America). Her parents acknowledge the hypocrisy of xenophobia: “It’s a strange world we live in—people will call you different with one breath and then say that we all look the same with the next angry breath.” Mei will have the responsibility of being “teacher and translator” to her parents. They might not be able to completely shield her from racism, othering, and the pressures of assimilation, but they can reassure and empower her—and they do. Mei and young readers are encouraged to rely on the “golden flame” of strength, power, and hope they carry within them. The second-person narration adds intimacy to the lyrical text. Diao’s lovely digital artwork works in tandem with Chen’s rich textual imagery to celebrate Chinese culture, family history, and language. The illustrations incorporate touchstones of Chinese mythology and art—a majestic dragon, a phoenix, and lotus flowers—as well as family photographs. One double-page spread depicts a lineup of notable Chinese Americans. In the backmatter, Chen and Diao relay their own family stories of immigration. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A shining affirmation of Chinese American identity. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-84205-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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Uncomplicated and worthwhile for any age.

THE THANKFUL BOOK

Parr focuses his simplistic childlike art and declarative sentences on gratitude for the pleasures and wonders of a child’s everyday life.

Using images of both kids and animals, each colorful scene in bold primary colors declaims a reason to be thankful. “I am thankful for my hair because it makes me unique” shows a yellow-faced child with a wild purple coiffure, indicating self-esteem. An elephant with large pink ears happily exclaims, “I am thankful for my ears because they let me hear words like ‘I love you.’ ” Humor is interjected with, “I am thankful for underwear because I like to wear it on my head.” (Parents will hope that it is clean, but potty-humor–loving children probably won’t care.) Children are encouraged to be thankful for feet, music, school, vacations and the library, “because it is filled with endless adventures,” among other things. The book’s cheery, upbeat message is clearly meant to inspire optimistic gratitude; Parr exhorts children to “remember some [things to be thankful for] every day.”

Uncomplicated and worthwhile for any age. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-316-18101-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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