A useful instructional addition for beginning readers who need to experience success.


From the I Like To Read series

The latest entry in the I Like to Read series involves very little reading.

With just eight words repeated again and again, one short sentence per spread, and only 24 pages, success is almost guaranteed for struggling readers. The word “see” appears 12 times and without competition from other words that start with “s.” The picture-book trim size, as opposed to the standard early-reader format, is also nicely nonthreatening. The problem is that struggling readers are often smart enough to know that this isn't a real story. There is no plot. What the boy sees seems arbitrary and disconnected—a dog, three different trucks, flowers, an arborist (“a man” in a tree with a saw), a butterfly, a bird, a merry-go-round. There is no sense of neighborhood or place. Most reluctant new readers will know that the trucks are particular types—bulldozers, a cement truck, a street sweeper—but they are not challenged with this specific vocabulary. Lewin's charming pencil-and-watercolor illustrations and the winsome African-American boy who draws what he has seen at the end of the book rescue it from mediocrity. Teachers will want to point out that the drawings were made by the child who served as Lewin's model before assigning the inevitable task to “make a book about what you see.”

A useful instructional addition for beginning readers who need to experience success. (Picture book/early reader. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3544-9

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Perfect bedtime story for the end of a busy day.


After a day at the beach, Mom, Dad, and Lucy are tired. But when the moon shines through her window, and everything looks mysterious, Lucy is suddenly wide awake. How will she go to sleep?

This warm, sweetly ordinary story is Pulitzer Prize–winner Smiley’s picture-book debut. The simple text describes a sunny day at the beach, with Lucy digging a hole, running into the water, walking from one end of the beach to the other, rolling down warm dunes, and eventually heading home, with Mom declaring, “Early bedtime!” As Mom reads a bedtime story, she falls asleep, and Lucy begins to nod off. But when moonlight bathes her bed, a wide-awake Lucy slips out of bed and pads out of her room in search of Molasses, her bear. Dad is snoring in his chair, and the house is very quiet. After finding Molasses—and all her menagerie of animal toys—Lucy settles them in her bed, snuggles in next to them, sighs a happy sigh, and falls asleep. Caldecott Honoree Castillo beautifully captures the warmth of the story in textured watercolors and bold, saturated colors. Of special note is the refreshingly straightforward portrayal of the family as biracial (Mom has dark skin and springy hair, while Dad is white). And the titular “twenty yawns?” Readers can find and count them sprinkled throughout the text.

Perfect bedtime story for the end of a busy day. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4778-2635-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here.


A sugary poem, very loosely based on the familiar song, lacks focus.

Using only the refrain from the original (“One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel all right!”), the reggae great’s daughter Cedella Marley sees this song as her “happy song” and adapts it for children. However, the adaptation robs it of life. After the opening lines, readers familiar with the original song (or the tourism advertisement for Jamaica) will be humming along only to be stopped by the bland lines that follow: “One love, what the flower gives the bee.” and then “One love, what Mother Earth gives the tree.” Brantley-Newton’s sunny illustrations perfectly reflect the saccharine quality of the text. Starting at the beginning of the day, readers see a little girl first in bed, under a photograph of Bob Marley, the sun streaming into her room, a bird at the window. Each spread is completely redundant—when the text is about family love, the illustration actually shows little hearts floating from her parents to the little girl. An image of a diverse group getting ready to plant a community garden, walking on top of a river accompanies the words “One love, like the river runs to the sea.”

Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here. (afterword) (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0224-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet