This picture book is A-OK.

IT'S OKAY TO MAKE MISTAKES

Parr encourages readers to see mistakes as opportunities with characteristic élan.

In his ineffable fashion, Parr delivers a reassuring mashup that’s part Keith Haring and part Sesame Street. Parr’s signature drawings with bold, black outlines and vibrant colors depict various characters making various mistakes and then making the best of the situations that arise from them. The accompanying text names those missteps and then shows the silver lining to each one on a facing page. For example: “It’s okay to get dirty,” reads one verso, and the facing recto responds, “A bubble bath is lots of fun.” Starting with the cover art that shows a dog with socks on its ears and a child wearing boxer shorts like a hat, silly details abound to keep the message from overpowering the feel-good fun of its presentation. In addition to his trademark purple-, orange- and red-skinned humans, Parr includes a bevy of animals from dogs and ducks to skunks and elephants. Examples of “mistakes” range from genuine goofs (falling down, tangling shoelaces) to character traits (shyness), behaviors (losing one’s temper) and developmental differences (not knowing an answer in school), but the “look on the bright side” response is always on-target.

This picture book is A-OK. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: July 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-316-23053-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life.

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BE YOU!

An inspirational picture book offers life advice for readers who want to be themselves.

Replete with sparkling, often quirky illustrations of children living their best lives, this book is a gorgeous guidebook for those seeking encouragement while encountering life’s challenges. The children featured—a racially diverse group ranging from infants to preschoolers—cheerfully navigate the various injunctions that flow through the text: “Be curious.…Be adventurous.…Be persistent.…Be kind.” What is remarkable about the book is that even though the instructions and the brief sentences explaining them are at times vague, the illustrations expand on them in ways readers will find endearing and uplifting. Those depicting painful or challenging moments are especially effective. The “Be persistent” double-page spread shows a child in a boat on stormy seas; it’s rich with deep blues as it emphasizes the energy of wind and rain and struggle in the face of challenge. Together with the accompanying repeated phrase “Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop,” this spread arrests readers. By contrast, the “Be kind. Be understanding” spread simply presents two children’s faces, one cast in blue and the other in gold, but the empathy that Reynolds conveys is similarly captivating. While there is no plot to pull readers through the pages, the book provides rich fodder for caregivers to use as teachable moments, both informally and in classroom settings.

Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-57231-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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Delicious on its own, and it will pair well with other books about gardens, plants and healthy eating habits.

PLANTS FEED ME

This simplest of informational picture books offers a sensible, sunny celebration of the plants—specifically the parts of plants—that we eat.

The opening scene shows a boy seated at table surrounded by a rich harvest. He’s holding a watermelon rind that mirrors the wide grin he wears, helping to set the good-natured tone of the book. As preschoolers examine the pages, they will learn about the featured fruits and vegetables and how they grew. Warm gouache-and–colored-pencil illustrations first depict a garden where “Plants reach up for the sun. / They grow down in the ground.” As the narrator goes on to explain that “I eat different parts from different plants,” such as roots, tubers, bulbs, stems, flowers and seeds, youngsters will find labeled images to peruse. The short, declarative sentences are easily digested by the very youngest and will tempt burgeoning readers to test their skills. Best of all, children will surely be inspired to taste some of the produce the next time it appears on their plates.

Delicious on its own, and it will pair well with other books about gardens, plants and healthy eating habits. (Informational picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2526-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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