September Reviews

Our September reviews for the Parents Express Philadelphia included reviews of three new picture books. A direct link to the online version appears at the end of this post.

Mom, It’s My First Day of Kindergarten! written and  illustrated by Hyewon Yum, Farrar Straus Giroux/ Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, hardcover, $16.99, ages 4-7.

Raise your hand if you’re heading off to Kindergarten or if you’re the adult sending a little one off on their big first day – this book is for you. Yum perfectly captures emotional truths for both children and adults in a tender story told from the perspectives of a young boy, eager and excited, and his mom, worried and anxious.  By deftly altering the size and color of the characters throughout, she demonstrates both their confidence and their concern, growing and waning as the day progresses. Before school the mother is small and blue, the boy robust and large on the page; later the boy, shrinking, becomes a little anxious at the classroom door as his mother, now reassuring, grows taller. The special milestone day moves on with mother and son coping well at day’s end.


A Home for Bird, written and illustrated by Philip C. Stead, Roaring Brook Press/ Macmillan, hardcover, $16.99, ages 3-8.

Vernonthe toad is out foraging when he finds Bird, blue with an orange beak and button eyes.  After spending some time with the ever-silent Bird,Vernonand his friends determine that maybe Bird is not happy and misses home, soVernondecides to help. The two embark on a long journey by water, land and air – Bird still silent andVernonresolute. With wonderful changing perspective, the colorful, splashy crayon drawings illuminate their meeting and journey, always pointing toVernon’s steadfast loyalty, patience and friendship. Happiness ensues when, at journey’s end, Bird returns to his rightful place.



The Hueys In The New Sweater, written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers, Philomel/Penguin Young Readers Group, hardcover, $10.99, ages 3-7.

The Hueys are a cute lot with their oval soft-looking bodies and stick arms and legs. They all look the same and like to do the same things; they seem pleasant and friendly.  Then Rupert decides to knit a nice, new sweater and wears it proudly.  First horrified by this change, the other Hueys quickly follow suit, knit the same sweater and guess what – they all look the same again! Until … It’s a marvel what some illustrators can do with simple lines and limited color. That’s what’s at work here and it works so darn well, accompanied by delightful writing, with just the right touch of whimsy about individuality and difference.


View the entire September issue of Parents Express:

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