Still, the Langs get across that there are all types of kids in this world, and teachers could easily springboard to asking...

HOORAY FOR KIDS!

Rhyming verse explores individuality among kids.

“Some kids are sloppy. / Some kids are neat. / Some kids chew their food so / you can see what they eat.” Some pick their noses, some wear socks with sandals, some leap, some crawl, some prefer the sand to the water. Whether one is a “shy kid, / a pie kid, / an always-asking-why kid...a book kid, / a hook kid, / a really-loves-to-cook kid, / to all kids we say, // each one of you is special. / KID, KID, HOORAY!” As the kids are all animals, size and race are not attributes addressed, but the illustrations do show kids with disabilities—the kid who paints does so digitally from a wheelchair, and the “book kid” reads Braille. Max Lang’s illustrations are a mix of photo backgrounds and props and expressive cartoon animals cut from white paper and still sporting white borders. Not all the rhymes work well: “Some kids are good at math. / Some kids need lots of sleep. // Some kids run real fast. / Some kids love to eat.” And the illustration for this last is a bit troubling—of the six watching the racers while stuffing their faces, only one could be said to have a waistline.

Still, the Langs get across that there are all types of kids in this world, and teachers could easily springboard to asking students to write about themselves. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-553-53783-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

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A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history.

THE SCARECROW

Ferry and the Fans portray a popular seasonal character’s unlikely friendship.

Initially, the protagonist is shown in his solitary world: “Scarecrow stands alone and scares / the fox and deer, / the mice and crows. / It’s all he does. It’s all he knows.” His presence is effective; the animals stay outside the fenced-in fields, but the omniscient narrator laments the character’s lack of friends or places to go. Everything changes when a baby crow falls nearby. Breaking his pole so he can bend, the scarecrow picks it up, placing the creature in the bib of his overalls while singing a lullaby. Both abandon natural tendencies until the crow learns to fly—and thus departs. The aabb rhyme scheme flows reasonably well, propelling the narrative through fall, winter, and spring, when the mature crow returns with a mate to build a nest in the overalls bib that once was his home. The Fan brothers capture the emotional tenor of the seasons and the main character in their panoramic pencil, ballpoint, and digital compositions. Particularly poignant is the close-up of the scarecrow’s burlap face, his stitched mouth and leaf-rimmed head conveying such sadness after his companion goes. Some adults may wonder why the scarecrow seems to have only partial agency, but children will be tuned into the problem, gratified by the resolution.

A welcome addition to autumnal storytelling—and to tales of traditional enemies overcoming their history. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-247576-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for...

OLIVER AND HIS EGG

Oliver, of first-day-of-school alligator fame, is back, imagining adventures and still struggling to find balance between introversion and extroversion.

“When Oliver found his egg…” on the playground, mint-green backgrounds signifying Oliver’s flight into fancy slowly grow larger until they take up entire spreads; Oliver’s creature, white and dinosaurlike with orange polka dots, grows larger with them. Their adventures include sharing treats, sailing the seas and going into outer space. A classmate’s yell brings him back to reality, where readers see him sitting on top of a rock. Even considering Schmid’s scribbly style, readers can almost see the wheels turning in his head as he ponders the girl and whether or not to give up his solitary play. “But when Oliver found his rock… // Oliver imagined many adventures // with all his friends!” This last is on a double gatefold that opens to show the children enjoying the creature’s slippery curves. A final wordless spread depicts all the children sitting on rocks, expressions gleeful, wondering, waiting, hopeful. The illustrations, done in pastel pencil and digital color, again make masterful use of white space and page turns, although this tale is not nearly as funny or tongue-in-cheek as Oliver and His Alligator (2013), nor is its message as clear and immediately accessible to children.

Still, this young boy’s imagination is a powerful force for helping him deal with life, something that should be true for all children but sadly isn’t. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7573-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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