Depicting societally marginalized human bodies in all their joyful, normal glory, this book is cool.

BODIES ARE COOL

A bustling celebration of body positivity that lovingly features bodies, skin, and hair of all kinds.

“Big bodies, small bodies / dancing, playing, happy bodies! / Look at all these different bodies! / Bodies are cool!” begins this engaging picture book, extolling the variety and splendor of human bodies in gentle, singsong text. With shared public spaces as the backdrop of her full-bleed spreads—and a refreshing lack of fanfare—author/illustrator Feder depicts people of many races, genders, disabilities, and physical attributes enjoying one another’s company, emphasizing connection rather than explanation. Whether riding a crowded bus, painting a community mural, or playing in a public park, no individual’s body is on particular display. Instead, young readers are able to people-watch through the pages, observing difference within the context of community. Most notably, Feder chooses clear and unapologetic language to describe body characteristics, challenging the negative connotations that are often attached to those bodies. Though the illustrations are a bit jam-packed, their richness and detail easily make up for the busy feel. Perfect for read-alouds, this offering shows young readers that vitiligo, assistive equipment, scars (including those denoting gender transition), fatness, dark skin, and textured hair (among many other features) all belong. Expanding visually beyond her celebration of the body, Feder also takes care to include queer families and characters wearing headscarves and turbans as well.

Depicting societally marginalized human bodies in all their joyful, normal glory, this book is cool. (Picture book. 3-10)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-11262-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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Thoughts always inform actions; if we can help youngsters see individuals instead of differences, there’s hope.

WHAT IF EVERYBODY THOUGHT THAT?

From the What If Everybody? series

Thinking mean-spirited thoughts can be just as damaging as saying them out loud.

Javernick and Madden pair up once again (What If Everybody Did That?, 2010 and What If Everybody Said That?, 2018), this time to address bullying in a school setting. One hopes that all schools are diverse with regard to both culture and ability, but it can be difficult to help students see beyond differences. Javernick poses scenarios in which children exhibit varying physical disabilities, learning disabilities, medical conditions, and more. A group of children is often depicted scrutinizing one (four taller kids in gym class look to a shorter one, thinking, “He’s too little to play basketball” and “He’ll NEVER get that ball in the hoop”) as the titular phrase asks, “What if EVERYBODY thought that?” The following spread reads, “They might be wrong” as vignettes show the tiny tot zipping around everyone and scoring. If one sees someone using a wheelchair and automatically thinks, “Too bad she can’t be in the relay race”—well, “they might be wrong.” The (literal) flipside offered to each scenario teaches children to be aware of these automatic assumptions and hopefully change perceptions. Madden’s mixed-media illustrations show a diverse array of characters and have intentional, positive messages hidden within, sometimes scratched in chalk on the ground or hanging up in a frame on a classroom wall.

Thoughts always inform actions; if we can help youngsters see individuals instead of differences, there’s hope. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9137-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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A good choice for a late fall storytime.

SNACK, SNOOZE, SKEDADDLE

HOW ANIMALS GET READY FOR WINTER

Animal behaviors change as they prepare to face the winter.

Migrate, hibernate, or tolerate. With smooth rhymes and jaunty illustrations, Salas and Gévry introduce three strategies animals use for coping with winter cold. The author’s long experience in imparting information to young readers is evident in her selection of familiar animals and in her presentation. Spread by spread she introduces her examples, preparing in fall and surviving in winter. She describes two types of migration: Hummingbirds and monarchs fly, and blue whales travel to the warmth of the south; earthworms burrow deeper into the earth. Without using technical words, she introduces four forms of hibernation—chipmunks nap and snack; bears mainly sleep; Northern wood frogs become an “icy pop,” frozen until spring; and normally solitary garter snakes snuggle together in huge masses. Those who can tolerate the winter still change behavior. Mice store food and travel in tunnels under the snow; moose grow a warmer kind of fur; the red fox dives into the snow to catch small mammals (like those mice); and humans put on warm clothes and play. The animals in the soft pastel illustrations are recognizable, more cuddly than realistic, and quite appealing; their habitats are stylized. The humans represent varied ethnicities. Each page includes two levels of text, and there’s further information in the extensive backmatter. Pair with Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen’s Winter Bees (2014).

A good choice for a late fall storytime. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2900-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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