Vague, slapdash reassurances to readers growing up in a worrisome world.

THE DON'T WORRY BOOK

Simple comforts for young fretters and overthinkers.

Recycling themes and even some images from The I'm Not Scared Book (2011), Parr first enumerates a selective list of things that can cause anxiety (fears of the dark or of having to go to the doctor, having too much to do, being bullied) and times that worrying can happen. The latter include lying awake in bed, watching TV, "looking at screens too much" (a frazzled-looking person holds a tablet), and overhearing "bad news"—exemplified with an image of a flying saucer, travelers from abroad (of one sort or another) being much on people's minds these days. He then goes on to general coping strategies ranging from taking deep breaths to visiting friends, dancing, squeezing a toy, or just thinking about "everyone who loves and takes care of you!" "Worrying doesn't help you," he concludes, but talking about concerns will. Readers searching for books that address deeper-seated anxiety might be better served by Me and My Fear, by Francesca Sanna (2018). In Parr's thick-lined, minimally detailed illustrations, the artist employs his characteristic technique of adding blue, purple, and bright yellow to the palette of skin tones; he also occasionally switches out human figures for dogs or cats behaving as people would. It's a strategy, though it leaves the cast with a generic look overall.

Vague, slapdash reassurances to readers growing up in a worrisome world. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: June 18, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-50668-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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Conceptually elegant, visually clean, uncluttered—and sure to inspire young artists everywhere.

SHAPES

From the Zoe and Zack series

A charming lesson for young Michaelangelos and O’Keeffes on drawing geometric shapes—and from them, simple representational images.

Artist-turned-educator-turned–children’s book creator Duquennoy has created an entertaining and inventive vehicle to teach youngsters both basic shapes and some simple drawings that can be made with them. As with the simultaneously published companion volume, Opposites, this book makes clever use of die-cut pages, here combined with clear acetate windows to show children how simple lines become familiar shapes, then toys and animals. Zack the chameleon draws a curved semicircle on one page; on the facing page, Zoe the zebra can be seen drawing a complementary semicircle on the clear window between them. When the page is turned, the two curved lines combine to form a circle. Zack draws more circles, and Zoe does the same, in seemingly random patterns, until a turn of the page creates a composite image of a teddy bear. Squares can be used, the two friends suggest, to draw a robot. Triangles are used to draw fish. All three shapes can be combined to construct a rudimentary but clearly recognizable “beautiful bird…ready to fly high in the sky.” It’s an admirably simple device to encourage crayon aficionados with still-developing motor skills to make the jump from scribbles to basic representational drawing.

Conceptually elegant, visually clean, uncluttered—and sure to inspire young artists everywhere. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-2-74708-699-8

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Overt moral instruction for the preschool set may attract occasional interest, but don’t expect kids to read this book on...

LETTERS TO LIVE BY

AN ALPHABET BOOK WITH INTENTION

Riddiough returns to the alphabet book’s didactic roots with this abecedarian guide on intentional living.

As the text remarks, we all “have the power to make our world a better, happier place.” Each lettered page introduces a different ethical principle in the form of a pithy alliterative imperative: “APPRECIATE ART”; “BECOME BRAVE”; “CHOOSE COMPASSION”; and so forth. The artwork portrays children engaged in simple acts and activities that are practical, relatable examples of each principle or ideal; for example, children can “INVITE IMAGINATION” by cloud-gazing on a sunny day, “VALUE VOLUNTEERING” by helping to clean up a park, and “JOIN FOR JUSTICE” by attending a street protest. A few of these visual object lessons are a bit vague or confusing; for instance, the text advises young readers to “RESIST RUMORS,” but the children pictured in the artwork are actually spreading them. Gilland’s digital illustrations, rendered using a palette dominated by pink and green, are serviceable, if unexciting. They are also inclusive, depicting kids with a variety of skin tones and hair textures, a Black girl wearing a hijab, a White girl using a wheelchair, interracial parents, and same-sex parents. The book ends by telling kids to “Z’S THE DAY,” but this pun may likely fly over the heads of the target audience.

Overt moral instruction for the preschool set may attract occasional interest, but don’t expect kids to read this book on repeat. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Jan. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-7624-7308-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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