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*The Yellow Tutu* by Kirsten Bramsen, illustrated by Carin Bramsen
Also written and/or illustrated by Carin Bramsen:

Hey, Duck!
The Yellow Tutu
by Kirsten Bramsen, illustrated by Carin Bramsen
Ages 4-8 40 pages Random House September 2009 Hardcover    

Margo loves her new tutu. She wears it around her waist to dance and on her head when she wants to be the sun, a lion, or a flower. When she walks to school with all sorts of yellow tulle surrounding her head, her face just shines with excitement - that is, until she is teased by a group of children. Then only the tears about to fall from her eyes shine. Someone nearby lets her know that she’s not alone, though, and together they make us see how much fun it is to be yourself.

Pearl hears Margo being called a tutu-head and sees her being laughed at and teased. But Pearl not only enjoys Margo’s imagination; she is inspired by it. In front of everyone Pearl says, “I like Margo’s yellow tutu and I think she looks like a sunflower.” After school, Pearl and Margo wear their tutus in a place where they will blend in with the most beautiful surroundings.

The illustrations in this book capture Margo’s individuality and her ability to dream. She wears pajamas covered with clouds in the morning; for school, she dons blue socks with red patent shoes and purple pants with a red and pink polka-dot top. When she’s happy, her curls bounce, her arms swing, and she has a bounce in her step. When she imagines that she is the sun, the grass around her becomes taller and the squirrels take tanning breaks. The bees have smiles, and the birds sing like she does.

Arihara’s beautiful gouache illustrations featuring multi-cultural children in muted primary colors who capture the concept of zero within a child’s everyday world – at school, on a beach, in the garden, etc. A perfect read-aloud, the book should not be rushed; the illustrations and examples compel the reader to pause and reflect. Easily leading to discussion, the books begs for a child to make connections between the concept of zero and their own lives.

Although some of the vocabulary is a little difficult, the sparse text always starting with “Zero is…” lends itself to teaching word recognition, picture-clue reading, and memorization. Highly recommended.

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  Tanya Boudreau/2009 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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