cover image Steppin’ Out: Jaunty Rhymes for Playful Times

Steppin’ Out: Jaunty Rhymes for Playful Times

Lin Oliver, illus. by Tomie dePaola. Penguin/Paulsen, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-17434-6

Oliver and dePaola accentuate the positive in this follow-up to 2014’s Little Poems for Tiny Ears, which features 19 original poems about moments common to the lives of many children, including outings to the mall, beach, and barbershop, as well as time spent with family. In a welcoming opening touch, a gatefold lets readers open one child’s front door as the action moves outdoors: “Step outside and poke around—/ See the sights, hear the sounds./ Grab a hand and come with me./ Let’s go see what we can see.” Subsequent poems are similarly buoyant, and if there’s a drawback to this collection, it’s that there isn’t much emotional range: Oliver’s young cast, painted by dePaola with characteristic warmth and in an array of ethnic backgrounds, are resolutely cheerful, generous, and curious. One boy enjoys “snuggly Grandpa cuddles” after splashing around in the rain with his elder, while a redheaded girl, allowed to choose one item at the mall, immediately shares the fuzzy pink koala with her baby sister. These are happy poems for similarly upbeat kids. Ages 3–5. (Feb.)