Picture Book Reviews: A Good Day for Ducks & A World of Kindness
Two new children’s books from Canadian publisher Pajama Press on the review roster!
A Good Day for Ducks brings author Jane Whittingham and illustrator Noel Tauzon back together, after their cheerful rhyming picture book debut Wild One. Written and presented with the same sparkling liveliness as Wild One, A Good Day for Ducks is the wonderfully rhythmic, sing-song tale of siblings who show readers just how best to enjoy the rain- and how to make the most of cozy and fun indoor activities after the rain. I enjoy children’s stories that utilize sounds and noise to great effect- let’s get the reader(s) and listener(s) toe-tapping, nodding, bouncing, clapping, etc.!- and A Good Day for Ducks does just that. Here are a few lines, as examples: “Rain is falling, rain is pouring/Drip drop, drip drop, down it falls”/”Worms are squirming in the puddles/Wiggle squiggle, everywhere”. It is the kind of onomatopoeic-filled text that a reader (and listener) cannot help but be inspired to join in on- whether physically acting along with the actions, or simply being a more active listener or testing out the sounds and feelings of the words. Tuazon’s illustrations have a lightness- an airiness- to them that work very well with Whittingham’s rhythmical text, showing the siblings in action as well as the unruly movement of rain, puddles, and lightning. Readers will likely find much to love in the lightheartedness that A Good Day for Ducks offers. The combination of effective, chanting-like text (perfect short length for toddlers and up to appreciate!) with lovely, soft watercolor and ink drawings makes for another great picture book from the Canadian author and artist duo.
A World of Kindness is a picture book written by the editors of Pajama Press with artwork by numerous acclaimed Pajama Press artists. A World of Kindness “asks children how they will show kindness and consideration for others“: anything and everything from reaching out to help someone older or younger, waiting for your turn, saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, or being a friend to someone who might need an ally or support. Each sentiment involving kindness is accompanied by an illustration from a Pajama Press artist (some are original works, some are illustrations taken from previously published works). Critically acclaimed My Beautiful Birds author and artist Suzanne Del Rizzo created (and donated) the original cover, and provides a featured illustration; other artists featured include Rebecca Bender, Wallace Edwards, Kim La Fave, Manon Gauthier, Brian Deines, and more. A World of Kindness is perhaps not as workable or potent as a straightforward read aloud story: rather than telling a story, or necessarily following a narrative structure, this picture book is more attuned to making its simple, important, strong messages/sentiments known, and thus would likely function well in preschool or elementary classrooms for further discussion and exploration. The themes in A World of Kindness also allow for the book to be effectively paired and examined with similarly-themed picture books such as David Ezra Stein’s The Nice Book, Pat Zietlow Miller and Jen Hill’s Be Kind, or All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman. As per Pajama Press’s website, “Royalties from the proceeds of this book will be donated to Think Kindness“. You can learn more about the organization, its mission and team through the Think Kindness website. Extras: There is a downloadable poster available through the Pajama Press website.
I received copies of these titles courtesy of Pajama Press in exchange for honest reviews. All opinions and comments are my own. A Good Day for Ducks is currently available; A World of Kindness publishes October 26, 2018.