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ALA Notable Books for Children
2019 (Younger Readers)
All of a Kind Family Hanukkah
Book Jacket   Emily Jenkins
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780399554193 PreS-Gr 3-Four-year-old Gertie, the youngest of five sisters growing up on the Lower East Side of New York City in the beginning of the 20th century, is frustrated that she can't help prepare the potato latkes for the first night of Hanukkah. Charlotte gets to peel the potatoes and Sarah grates them; Henny chops the onions; and Mama cracks the eggs and adds the salt and matzo meal. Big sister Ella picks up Gertie so she can see the two big frying pans hiss and smoke on the stove, but Mama is afraid that the grease will spit and burn her and sends Gertie to her room. Discouraged and angry, Gertie hides under the bed until Papa comes home and lures her out with gingersnaps. Though she isn't old enough to help make the latkes, she is old enough to help Papa light the menorah. And at dinner, Mama gives Gertie the first latke to try and it tastes "of history and freedom, of love and crispy potato." Zelinsky's expressive and textured illustrations done in yellow, blue, and red earth tones with thick, bold lines perfectly capture the love and warmth of a large family despite the modest and overcrowded living quarters. The back matter also provides information about Sydney Taylor, the author of the original All-of-a-Kind Family (first published in 1951), life on the Lower East Side, and additional background about Hanukkah. VERDICT While readers need not be familiar with the classic series, generations of parents who grew up with this unforgettable immigrant family will certainly welcome this new picture book as the perfect way to introduce these memorable characters to the next generation of readers.-Rachel Kamin, North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, Highland Park, IL © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780399554193 *Starred Review* The All-of-a-Kind Family gets new life in this handsome picture book that captures the charm of the classic middle-grade series. As with those books, about a Jewish family living on the Lower East Side of New York City at the turn of the last century, this brings readers close to the step-stair sisters Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte, and the four-year-old star of this book, Gertie. The family is getting ready for Hanukkah, which means lots of cleaning and cooking. Especially labor intensive are the potato latkes, the pancakes that are the culinary centerpiece of the festivities. But Gertie is too young to peel the potatoes or chop the onions. And the more she's not allowed to do, the angrier she gets, until a total meltdown ensues. Gertie is sent to her room. She hides under the bed until Papa saves the day and Gertie joins the family, just in time to say the blessings and enjoy a latke. Without concentrating too much on the details of the Hanukkah story, Jenkins captures the warmth the holiday engenders. Zelinsky does a masterful job with the artwork, drawing with bold strokes that have energy and emotion. Adults, especially those who love the original books, will appreciate his note, which details how he decided on the rough style he chose for his art. Here's hoping for more adventures starring these exceptional sisters.--Ilene Cooper Copyright 2018 Booklist
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780399554193 This original story based on Sydney Taylor's characters is a perfect standalone Hanukkah read, or an inviting introduction to the All-of-a-Kind Family series. Four-year-old Gertie wants to help her older sisters prepare the holiday latkes. A tantrum ensues from left-out Gertie, but eventually she helps Papa light the menorah. Cozy present-tense text and thick-lined, expressive, color-saturated illustrations capture the loving family's happy bustle amid well-researched period details. Bib., glos. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780399554193 When two top picture book talents (the team behind the Toys Go Out series) introduce a new generation to Sydney Taylor's classic stories of Jewish family life on the Lower East Side, it's what's known in Yiddish as a mechaye-something that gives great joy. The year is 1912, and Gertie, the youngest of five sisters, throws a tantrum after being told she's too little to be included in the Hanukkah preparations: "No, Mäusele," says Mama when Gertie wants to use the potato peeler, "It's too sharp." Sent to the communal bedroom for a time-out, Gertie sulks, then worries she'll miss Hanukkah altogether. But with some sweet, timeless Papa humor and an important responsibility-lighting the first night's candle-the girl feels welcomed back into the family fold. Jenkins captures a wealth of feelings with a few understated words: "The latkes taste of history and freedom, of love and crispy potato." Zelinsky's warm-toned, rough-hewn pictures and intimate perspectives give readers a sense of both the close quarters of tenement life and the unbreakable bonds that made immigrant Jewish families so resilient. Ages 3-7. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. The first night of Hanukkah brings initial disappointment but finally great happiness to the youngest of the family.It is 1912 on New York City's Lower East Side, and two sisters are hurrying home to their family to prepare for Hanukkah. Gertie is especially eager because Mama will be making potato pancakesa once-a-year treat for her "all of a kind" five daughters. At 4, the youngest, Gertie wants to help her older sisters, but Mama will not let her peel or grate the potatoes, chop the onions, or fry the pancakes in the schmaltz, triggering a tantrum. After Gertie's fit of anger, Mama takes her daughter to the bedroom, where she hides under the bed. It is Papa, a very wise father indeed, who knows what to say and how to make Gertie feel so special. She will recite the blessings with Papa and light the first candle. A festive dinner of chicken and latkes for the entire family follows. Writing with the support of the Sydney Taylor Foundation, Jenkins expertly captures the warm family spirit of the classic books and their time for a new generation of readers. Zelinsky's digital artwork brilliantly evokes the crowded but cozy tenement world of the early 20th century, while his use of perspective lovingly draws readers into the drama.Share this joyous holiday tale of a Jewish immigrant family all year long. (glossary, author's note, illustrator's note, link to latke recipe, sources) (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780399554193 PreS-Gr 3-Four-year-old Gertie, the youngest of five sisters growing up on the Lower East Side of New York City in the beginning of the 20th century, is frustrated that she can't help prepare the potato latkes for the first night of Hanukkah. Charlotte gets to peel the potatoes and Sarah grates them; Henny chops the onions; and Mama cracks the eggs and adds the salt and matzo meal. Big sister Ella picks up Gertie so she can see the two big frying pans hiss and smoke on the stove, but Mama is afraid that the grease will spit and burn her and sends Gertie to her room. Discouraged and angry, Gertie hides under the bed until Papa comes home and lures her out with gingersnaps. Though she isn't old enough to help make the latkes, she is old enough to help Papa light the menorah. And at dinner, Mama gives Gertie the first latke to try and it tastes "of history and freedom, of love and crispy potato." Zelinsky's expressive and textured illustrations done in yellow, blue, and red earth tones with thick, bold lines perfectly capture the love and warmth of a large family despite the modest and overcrowded living quarters. The back matter also provides information about Sydney Taylor, the author of the original All-of-a-Kind Family (first published in 1951), life on the Lower East Side, and additional background about Hanukkah. VERDICT While readers need not be familiar with the classic series, generations of parents who grew up with this unforgettable immigrant family will certainly welcome this new picture book as the perfect way to introduce these memorable characters to the next generation of readers.-Rachel Kamin, North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, Highland Park, IL © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780399554193 *Starred Review* The All-of-a-Kind Family gets new life in this handsome picture book that captures the charm of the classic middle-grade series. As with those books, about a Jewish family living on the Lower East Side of New York City at the turn of the last century, this brings readers close to the step-stair sisters Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte, and the four-year-old star of this book, Gertie. The family is getting ready for Hanukkah, which means lots of cleaning and cooking. Especially labor intensive are the potato latkes, the pancakes that are the culinary centerpiece of the festivities. But Gertie is too young to peel the potatoes or chop the onions. And the more she's not allowed to do, the angrier she gets, until a total meltdown ensues. Gertie is sent to her room. She hides under the bed until Papa saves the day and Gertie joins the family, just in time to say the blessings and enjoy a latke. Without concentrating too much on the details of the Hanukkah story, Jenkins captures the warmth the holiday engenders. Zelinsky does a masterful job with the artwork, drawing with bold strokes that have energy and emotion. Adults, especially those who love the original books, will appreciate his note, which details how he decided on the rough style he chose for his art. Here's hoping for more adventures starring these exceptional sisters.--Ilene Cooper Copyright 2018 Booklist
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780399554193 This original story based on Sydney Taylor's characters is a perfect standalone Hanukkah read, or an inviting introduction to the All-of-a-Kind Family series. Four-year-old Gertie wants to help her older sisters prepare the holiday latkes. A tantrum ensues from left-out Gertie, but eventually she helps Papa light the menorah. Cozy present-tense text and thick-lined, expressive, color-saturated illustrations capture the loving family's happy bustle amid well-researched period details. Bib., glos. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780399554193 When two top picture book talents (the team behind the Toys Go Out series) introduce a new generation to Sydney Taylor's classic stories of Jewish family life on the Lower East Side, it's what's known in Yiddish as a mechaye-something that gives great joy. The year is 1912, and Gertie, the youngest of five sisters, throws a tantrum after being told she's too little to be included in the Hanukkah preparations: "No, Mäusele," says Mama when Gertie wants to use the potato peeler, "It's too sharp." Sent to the communal bedroom for a time-out, Gertie sulks, then worries she'll miss Hanukkah altogether. But with some sweet, timeless Papa humor and an important responsibility-lighting the first night's candle-the girl feels welcomed back into the family fold. Jenkins captures a wealth of feelings with a few understated words: "The latkes taste of history and freedom, of love and crispy potato." Zelinsky's warm-toned, rough-hewn pictures and intimate perspectives give readers a sense of both the close quarters of tenement life and the unbreakable bonds that made immigrant Jewish families so resilient. Ages 3-7. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. The first night of Hanukkah brings initial disappointment but finally great happiness to the youngest of the family.It is 1912 on New York City's Lower East Side, and two sisters are hurrying home to their family to prepare for Hanukkah. Gertie is especially eager because Mama will be making potato pancakesa once-a-year treat for her "all of a kind" five daughters. At 4, the youngest, Gertie wants to help her older sisters, but Mama will not let her peel or grate the potatoes, chop the onions, or fry the pancakes in the schmaltz, triggering a tantrum. After Gertie's fit of anger, Mama takes her daughter to the bedroom, where she hides under the bed. It is Papa, a very wise father indeed, who knows what to say and how to make Gertie feel so special. She will recite the blessings with Papa and light the first candle. A festive dinner of chicken and latkes for the entire family follows. Writing with the support of the Sydney Taylor Foundation, Jenkins expertly captures the warm family spirit of the classic books and their time for a new generation of readers. Zelinsky's digital artwork brilliantly evokes the crowded but cozy tenement world of the early 20th century, while his use of perspective lovingly draws readers into the drama.Share this joyous holiday tale of a Jewish immigrant family all year long. (glossary, author's note, illustrator's note, link to latke recipe, sources) (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
Alma and How She Got Her Name
Book Jacket   Juana Martinez-Neal.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780763693558 *Starred Review* Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela has a very long name for a little girl. So long, in fact, that she has to tape extra paper to the page when she writes it, just so it will fit. One day she complains about this to her father, and he sits down with her to tell Alma the story of her name. Tucked together in a cozy armchair, he opens a photo album to a black-and-white picture of Alma's grandmother Sofia. He tells his daughter how Sofia loved flowers and books, and Alma realizes she also loves those things. I am Sofia, she declares. Next, she hears about her great-grandmother Esperanza, who dreamed of traveling; and when readers turn the page, Alma stands before a large world map, zigzagged with red string marking all the places the girl wishes to go she is Esperanza, too. As her father continues, Alma comes to understand that her name fits her perfectly. Martinez-Neal brings her gentle story to life through beautiful graphite- and colored-pencil artwork set against cream-colored backgrounds. Soft blue and red details pop against the charcoal scenes, which perfectly reflect the snapshots of Alma's family. While Alma feels enriched by learning her family's history, she is also empowered by the knowledge that she will give her name Alma its own story.--Smith, Julia Copyright 2018 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780763693558 Her full name is Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela, and it's so long that "it never fits," as the girl explains to her father. (When she writes it on a sheet of paper, she has to tape an extra piece to the bottom.) But as Daddy explains that there's a remarkable relative behind each of her names, Alma realizes that she embodies their talents and character, and she comfortably communes with the spirits of the departed. She loves to draw like her paternal grandfather, José, and she's so inspired by her activist maternal grandmother, Candela, that she strikes the classic Norma Rae pose and declares "I am Candela!" surrounded by her stuffed animals. Best of all, Daddy concludes, she is "the first and only Alma. You will make your own story." Martinez-Neal's first outing as author is a winner-her velvety and largely monochromatic pencil drawings, punctuated with cherry red, teem with emotional intimacy. It's an origin story that envelops readers like a hug. Ages 4-8. Agent: Stefanie Von Borstel, Full Circle Literary. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Alma Sofia Esperanza Jos Pura Candela has a very long name, and she's about to find out how she came to have it.Alma is a cute little girl with the sweetest pair of striped red-and-white pants ever. She also happens to have a very long nameso long, in fact, that it never fits. Her father sits her down to tell her the story of her name, "Then you decide if it fits." And so Alma learns about her grandmother Sofia; her great-grandmother Esperanza; her grandfather Jos; her great-aunt Pura; and her other grandmother Candela. And Alma? She learns Alma was picked just for her. "You will make your own story." Peruvian-born Martinez-Neal never expresses it in the text, but the illustrations are filled with references to Peru, the country where Alma's family comes from. Mostly monochromatic against a cream background, the illustrationsprint transfers with graphite and colored pencilsare delightful, capturing the distinctive essences of Alma's many namesakes. Alma is depicted as the color of the paper background, with pink cheeks and a black bob haircut. Whereas the story starts with Alma's name written in a childish print on a piece of paper that needs an extra piece of paper taped to it, the story ends with Alma's name in grand and elegant display types. That's her name, and it fits her just right! A Spanish edition, Alma y cmo obtuvo su nombre, publishes simultaneously.A celebration of identity, family and belonging. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780763693558 PreS-Gr 2-It's said there's a story behind every name and Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela is surely a moniker worthy of six tales. After complaining that her name is so long that it "never fits," Alma's father shares stories with the girl about the people she's been named after, including a book lover, an artist, and a deeply spiritual woman, among others. Martinez-Neal, the recipient of the 2018 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award for La Princesa and the Pea , works in print transfers with graphite and colored pencils for these images, limiting her palette to black, charcoal gray, and blushes of color. The round, stylized figure of the girl, dressed in pink striped pants and a white shirt, pops against the sepia pages (reminiscent of old, family photo albums). As Alma's namesakes emerge from the shadows when they are introduced, they and their distinguishing items (books, plants, paintbrushes, etc.) are highlighted in a pale, gray-blue. The softly colored images and curvilinear shapes that embrace the figures evoke a sense of warmth and affection. At the story's end, the only tale readers have not heard is Alma's. "You will make your own story," states her father. VERDICT A beautifully illustrated, tender story to be shared with all children, sure to evoke conversations about their names.-Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780763693558 Alma Sofia Esperanza Josi Pura Candela feels self-conscious about her long name until her father tells her about the family members after whom she is named. The pictures--grayscale print-transfer illustrations with soft textures--steal the show in their depiction of the sweet closeness between Alma and her father as well as her connection to her ancestors. Also available in Spanish. (c) Copyright 2018. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
Baby Monkey, Private Eye
 Brian Selznick
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781338180619 A nearly 200-page chapter book for emerging readers? Using a pared-down vocabulary and luxuriant, chiaroscuro drawings, Selznick (The Marvels) and husband Serlin make it work-brilliantly. Four oddball robbery victims show up at Baby Monkey's Sam Spade-worthy office, including a chef whose pizza has gone missing and a clown who has had his red nose stolen. Baby Monkey's basic MO is always the same: look for clues, take notes, eat a snack, put on pants, and solve the crime (generally by looking right outside his office door). The tight, repeating structure gives Selznick plenty of opportunity to riff on the details: in each chapter, Baby Monkey has a different (and triumphant) wrestling match with his pants, and the furnishings of his office change to match the profession of each client (for those who can't guess these Easter eggs, a key and index are included). "Hooray for Baby Monkey!" are the last words of this endearingly funny graphic novel/picture book/early reader-it's a sentiment that readers of all ages will wholeheartedly affirm. Ages 4-8. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. In five chapters spanning almost 200 pages, Selznickhere working with husband Serlinmanages to do for the early reader what he accomplished with the picture book: reinvent it. The narrative unfolds in finely wrought, crosshatched compositions drawn in pencil and introducing the color red to reward readers as they hunt for stolen objects alongside the pint-sized simian detective. Though he's as successful as his hard-boiled, cinematic counterparts, Baby Monkey is still a youngster, so after each client arrives for consultation, he playfully peers through his magnifying glass, scribbles findings, nibbles snacks, and attempts to dress himself. This structure provides the repetition that, when paired with brief sentences, visual clues, a large typeface, and clear dialogue bubbles, serves the format extremely well. Impish expressions and oversized trousers will amuse the audience throughout each of the several-page wardrobe sequences. Preceding each knock on the door is an office "scene change" inviting viewers to analyze objects and predict the visitor's identity; for example, and in a nod to The Invention of Hugo Cabret, the iconic image from Georges Mlis' A Trip to the Moon heralds an astronaut. An oversized bonnet and dress shroud the final guest in mystery until the loving denouement. Not to be missed are the sendups of a bibliography and index, and adult readers will enjoy the visual keys to the clues planted in Baby Monkey's office.Wrapped in the chiaroscuro of film noir, kids will forget they are learning to read, focusing instead on the comic bits, persistence, and vulnerability of an endearing hero. (Early reader. 4-9) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781338180619 *Starred Review* In an office that looks like it came straight out of a noir film, Baby Monkey solves a series of perplexing mysteries. First, an opera singer is missing her necklace. Then, a chef's pizza's been stolen, a clown's nose goes missing, and an astronaut can't find her spaceship. In every case, Baby Monkey eagerly offers to help, has a snack, takes some notes, puts on his pants, and captures the culprit. There's not a lot of detective work (he spends more time struggling with pants), but the details in Selznick's signature fine-lined, crosshatched pencil artwork reveal plenty of clues. When the astronaut stops by, for instance, Baby Monkey is reading Famous Space Crimes, and a still of Georges Méliès' A Trip to the Moon is on the wall. Though 192 pages might seem like a lot for a picture book, Selznick and Serlin pull off the feat rather brilliantly. Actions are stretched out over multiple pages (one struggle with pants takes nine pages), which makes the chapters fly by, and while they can be read individually, those who read them in order will notice clever changes as the cases progress. An inventive format and tongue-in-cheek sense of humor make this sweet and silly book almost irresistible.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2017 Booklist
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781338180619 In five chapters, diminutive gumshoe Baby Monkey solves cases following a predictable pattern, with occasional small variation. New readers will delight in the details in the brief text and the shadowy, noirish black-and-white illustrations with pops of red. The cute little monkey's anthropomorphized facial expressions and the spot-on slapstick pacing of putting-on-pants sequences will have viewers giggling for days. (c) Copyright 2018. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781338180619 PreS-Gr 1-Selznick and Serlin take the easy reader format to new creative heights. Baby Monkey may be a baby (and a monkey) but he has a full-time job as a private eye. Baby Monkey solves five cases (one for each chapter) by looking carefully for visual clues. Full-page illustrations facing single, simple, and often repetitive sentences in an oversized typeface make this ideal for emerging readers. The sharp pacing and charming humor also make it an excellent read-aloud choice. Selznick's signature black-and-white drawings-his noir-like style here played up to full effect-invite readers to linger and look carefully. With each case, the framed paintings and various bric-a-brac decorating Baby Monkey's well-appointed office changes. Hidden clues and jokes abound, as in "The Case of the Missing Spaceship," wherein the opening two-page spread shows a framed poster of A Trip to the Moon (a hat tip to devoted Selznick fans), an image of Apollo 13, a portrait of Galileo Galilei, and a bust of John F. Kennedy. Will most of these references sail over the heads of the intended audience? Perhaps. But the story works just as well without them, and Selznick and Serlin take pains to make sure young readers have enough information to look them up if they are so inclined; the "Key to Baby Monkey's Office" in the back matter lists each visual reference by chapter/case. A running gag about Baby Monkey forgetting to wear-and struggling to put on-pants will have readers cracking up. In the very last case, the primate private eye jumps into the loving arms of his mom and takes a well-earned nap. VERDICT A delightful easy reader that is as funny as it is elegant. This will be enjoyed equally by youngsters and their grown-ups.-Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
A Big Mooncake for Little Star
 Grace Lin
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Little Star has trouble resisting the Big Mooncake that Mama has hung in the sky in Lin's (When the Sea Turned Silver, 2016, etc.) luminous departure from her usual block-print style.After Little Star and her mama, both wearing jet-black pajamas adorned with bright yellow stars, bake a huge yellow mooncake, Mama reminds Little Star to leave it in the sky to cool. Of course Little Star tries, but she wakes in the night, unable to resist taking a tiny nibble. Mama surely won't notice. Each subsequent night, Little Star steals another bite, and soon observant readers may realize what is happening: The Big Mooncake is waning from a full moon to a new moon. Lin's storytelling is both clever and radiant. Painted in gouache against perfectly black pages, the characters' pajamas have no edges, only the stars defining the separation between foreground and background. The mooncake gleams against the black as well, crumbs scattering like stars in the skya visual delight, suffusing the book with a feeling of otherworldliness that is offset by Little Star's childlike authenticity and her loving relationship with Mama. An author's note on the jacket flap indicates that while this story is not rooted in Chinese cosmology, it is Lin's homage to the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, her "favorite Asian holiday."A warm and glowing modern myth. (Picture book. 3-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780316404488 Nighttime paintings by Lin (Where the Mountain Meets the Moon) add magic to this fable about why the moon waxes and wanes. The story's events unfold against the velvety black of the night sky as Mama and Little Star, dressed in black pajamas spangled with yellow stars, work on their mooncake (an Asian holiday treat, Lin explains in an author's note) in the kitchen. Mama takes the cake out of the oven and lays it "onto the night sky to cool." She tells Little Star not to touch it, and Little Star attends but awakens in the middle of the night and remembers the cake. A double-page spread shows Little Star's speculative glance on the left and the huge golden mooncake-or is it the round, golden full moon?-on the right. Whichever it is, Little Star takes a nibble from the edge, another the next night, and so on until the moon wanes to a delicate crescent. Lin successfully combines three distinctive and memorable elements: a fable that avoids seeming contrived, a vision of a mother and child living in cozy harmony, and a night kitchen of Sendakian proportions. Ages 4-8. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316404488 In the night sky, Little Star and her mother bake a mooncake, the sweet treat associated with the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. As the Big Mooncake hangs to cool, the girl's hunger overcomes her. It's all mesmerizing: Little Star's astral home; her outsized sense of mischief; the dwindling, nibbled-upon cake as a stand-in for the waning moon; and Lin's pleasing, soothing text, perfect for reading aloud to little moon-watchers on Earth. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780316404488 Against the backdrop of a black sky, Mama and Little Star bake a giant mooncake. But as she puts the cake out to cool, Mama admonishes her daughter not to touch it. And she doesn't until she wakes up in the night. Then, it's pat, pat, pat over to the mooncake, where she nibbles just a bit. Each night, there's more nibbling, causing the mooncake to change shape, until it's just a crescent. That's when Mama sees what's happened, but she isn't mad. It's just time to make another mooncake. Although the story is slight (and there's no direct aligning of the mooncake with the stages of the moon, either in text or note), the gouache illustrations are excellent. Mother and daughter, both dressed in star-covered black jumpsuits that add bits of light to inky backgrounds, are intriguing characters who come alive through facial expressions. Little Star's impish looks are worth the price of admission. This has no roots in Chinese mythology, Lin says, but she associates it with Asian moon festivals. A complementary read for those holidays.--Cooper, Ilene Copyright 2018 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316404488 PreS-Gr 1-Little Star's mother admonishes her not to eat the giant mooncake, which she left cooling in the night sky, but Little Star has her own ideas. Little Star makes a mischievous choice. "Yum!" Each night, she wakes from her bed in the sky and nibbles from the giant mooncake. "'Little Star!' her mama said, shaking her head even though her mouth was curving. ' You ate the big mooncake again, didn't you?'" Rather than scolding, Mama responds with a kind offer to bake a new mooncake. Observant eyes will recognize that the final pages showing Little Star and her mama baking a new mooncake are a repeat of the front papers-a purposeful hint that the ritual is repeated monthly as Little Star causes the phases of the moon. Artwork is gouache on watercolor paper. Each page has a glossy black background and small white font. Little Star and her mother have gentle countenances twinkling with merriment. Both wear star-studded black pajamas that are distinguishable from the inky sky only by their yellow stars and the occasional patch of Little Star's exposed tummy. The cherubic Little Star floats through the darkness, her mooncake crumbs leaving a trail of stardust in the sky. VERDICT The relationship between Little Star and her mother offers a message of empowerment and reassurance. Lin's loving homage to the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is sure to become a bedtime favorite.-Lisa Taylor, Florida State College, Jacksonville © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
Black Bird Yellow Sun
Book Jacket   Steve Light
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780763690670 Toddler-PreS-A delightful journey through a day filled with bright exciting colors. The bold yellow sun comes up and a black bird and a small orange worm greet it while standing on a black branch. Then they're off! Readers will follow eagerly as the pair move through each new environment until at last they meet a blue moon at the end of a very full day. The ink-and-paper collage illustrations bring each new setting to life with heavy, textured stamps. The black bird is created out of single piece of black paper but the changes in its eyes, posture, and positioning convey fear, curiosity, and happiness as it flies and walks through the colorful world. The words are printed with bold black type and the text doesn't stray from the repeating color format (e.g., "Black Bird/Orange Leaves, Black Bird/Red Snake") The story provides ample opportunities to talk about sizes, shapes, textures, and colors. VERDICT Adventurous and exciting but simple enough for even the earliest readers, this is an excellent board book and a first purchase.-Laken Hottle, Providence Community Library © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Toddlers can follow a black bird as it goes on a colorful expedition from yellow sun to fabled blue moon in this concept board book.As the titular black bird goes from page to page it makes a striking contrast against the vibrantly colored objects it encounters along the way. Simple, declarative statements in large black type on each page identify the objects: "Black Bird / Purple Grapes // Black Bird / Green Grass // Black Bird / Red Snake." The bird often interacts with its colorful surroundings, seeming about to pluck a grape and, perhaps, flying away from that red snake. In a departure from his recent line-heavy style for older readers (Lucky Lazlo, 2016, etc.), Light's clear, uncomplicated illustrations are done in collage and by printing cardboard shapes with ink. The result is so wonderfully textural children will be tempted to touch, and adult readers and their young listeners may even be inspired to try their own hands at stamping with thick gooey paint. Observant readers will not fail to notice there is a small orange worm also making its way across the book. Once again, Light (Trucks Go, 2008, etc.) shows his understanding of the target age group.Beautiful in its simplicity, this book deserves a spot on any toddler's bookshelf. (Board book. 1-3) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
Blue
Book Jacket   Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781626720664 Seeger's Green celebrated a single color, and so too does this companion, all the while telling a poignant story. Close-range, canvas-stroked spreads portray the start of a friendship as a golden retriever puppy and a toddler nap on the same blanket ("baby blue"). The young dog and boy romp on the beach ("ocean blue") and sleep together ("midnight blue") as they both grow older, until the boy, now much changed, is seen cuddling his aging dog ("true blue"). When it's time for the two to say goodbye, Seeger shows the young man alone, his head bowed as he sits by the ocean where he and his dog once played ("so blue"). Though things begin to look up in the final spreads, the death is a difficult moment, and readers might find themselves a bit blue. Seeger balances many different picture book elements as she identifies evocative hues for the duo's story, examines common objects such as blueberries and butterflies, and inserts unexpected die-cuts in each page to reveal fragments of the surrounding spreads. Ages 3-6. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781626720664 *Starred Review* In this companion to her Caldecott Honor Book Green (2012), Seeger reflects on the many shades and emotions suggested by this pigment. Baby blue depicts a sleeping toddler and puppy sharing a blue blanket. A page turn reveals a slightly older preschooler and his dog collecting berry blue fruit. A child's painting of a boy and dog, marred by paw prints, is captioned maybe blue. In later spreads, both youngster and pooch mature, sparking adventures that involve running into the waves (ocean blue), camping out (quiet blue), and a snowy walk (chilly blue). Eventually, of course, old blue / true blue passes away, leaving the teen so blue, until he meets a girl with her own pup, new blue. While story takes a prominent role in this concept book, Seeger has not neglected the artistic details that distinguished her work. The acrylic-on-canvas paintings exhibit a range of styles: from playful (silly blue) to contemplative (midnight blue) to gently combative (my blue, in which boy and mutt each tug at the baby blanket). As in Green, strategically placed die-cuts help to connect the spreads, previewing important features of the next illustration. A story full of heart, this works on many levels, assuring satisfying discoveries with repeated viewings.--Kay Weisman Copyright 2018 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781626720664 K-Gr 3-In her companion to Green, Seeger follows the lives of a boy and his dog, Blue. Beginning with the sleeping toddler and his puppy accompanied by the words "baby blue," the pair is shown growing up together and sharing experiences through all seasons and in all weather. Their various activities include blueberry picking, chasing butterflies, taking snowy walks, and frolicking in the ocean. An azure bandana appears on almost every page, sometimes worn by the boy and sometimes by his dog. The pictures and words will appeal to readers' emotions, including delight, contentment, exasperation, and profound sadness when the youth is pictured holding his elderly dog for the last time. Precisely placed die-cuts lead readers to the next page and the next illustration depicting the pair's devotion. Short, rhyming couplets consisting of two words each scan well and are skillfully conveyed by the acrylic paintings on canvas: "quiet blue/silly blue/stormy blue/chilly blue." VERDICT Though there is sorrow, it is followed by joy in this touching tribute to a heartwarming relationship that will engage readers of all ages.-Maryann H. Owen, Oak Creek Public Library WI © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. This companion to Seeger's Caldecott Honor book Green (2012) explores a fresh color's visual and metaphorical permutations.Seeger unfolds the entwined lives of a white boy and a golden Lab, from baby- and puppy-hood through a series of poignant transitions. Cleverly placed die cuts and rhymed, two-word phrases (set in ever crisp Helvetica Neue bold) anchor each double-page spread. To her many-hued blues, some thick with impasto, Seeger adds yellow, sienna, crimson, and green in scenes that transit fluidly among interiors and natural tableaux exploring the sea, a stormy night, a sun-dappled park, and more. At "baby blue," puppy and toddler sleep among blue toys, sharing a small square of blue clotha future neckerchief they'll trade throughout. For "berry blue," boy pulls dog and a berry basket in a red wagon. The phrase "maybe blue" perches on a blob of yellow in the child's vivid self-portrait with pet. (The dog traverses the picture, tracking yellow paint across the deep-blue ground, its die-cut paw prints mixing to make green.) At "very blue" the pair cavorts among blue butterflies, which fill the foreground in huge, delightful proximity. Later scenes depict the Lab's inevitable aging, with the boy sitting ("so blue") on a dock at sunset, his body bent in grief. Last, another transition: meeting a brown-skinned girl and her young sheepdog, the blue scrap now tucked in the teen's back pocket.Sumptuous, stunning, and heart-stirring. (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781626720664 Inventive author-illustrator Seeger sneaks a story about loss into her celebration of all shades blue--"baby blue," "berry blue"--through a portrait of the happy life of a boy and his dog. We slowly understand that the boy is growing, and so is the dog..."old blue." As in her previous book Green, small die-cuts lead from each richly textured double-page spread to the next. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
Bowwow Powwow
 Brenda J. Child
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781681340777 Itchy Boy is Windy Girl's dog: a lively and loyal companion who barks at everything. The inseparable pair enjoy spending time with Uncle, who drives them in his truck, takes them ice-fishing, and, despite Itchy's incessant barking, manages to tell Windy stories of his youth. Windy's favorite is about how the Native American powwow tradition has both survived and changed with the passage of time. One summer evening, a powwow continues late into the night, and the festivities and Itchy's persistent presence creep into Windy Girl's dream, where dogs replace humans in the celebration. Readers observe costumed canines marching as war veterans, participating in a drum circle, and dancing in an array of styles: traditional, grass dance, and fancy. Created by a Red Lake Ojibwe author and illustrator, this story offers accessible cultural insight, and an appended note adds important details to those provided in Windy's dream and corrects misconceptions. The story is written in English and Ojibwe, and its crisply colored digital-media illustrations add a contemporary feel.--Chaudhri, Amina Copyright 2010 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Ojibwe protagonist Windy Girl and her new dog, Itchy Boy, enjoy many good times, but none are so good as when they go to a powwow.Windy Girl and her pup relish exploring the out-of-doors in all seasons, but the best times are when Uncle visits. His stories about the powwows of long ago fascinate her and make her feel proud. Of all the good times, Windy Girl and Itchy Boy love the end-of-summer powwow most. Often, powwows last well into the night. When the "heartbeat" rhythms of the powwow drum lull Windy Girl and Itchy Boy to sleep, she dreams of a special powwow, one in which all the participants are dogs. Here the illustrations, which look to be made from digital media, present scenes in which dogs of many breeds and attired in ceremonial regalia enact typical powwow activities such as dancing and drumming. The Grand Entry depicts dog veterans carrying flags: the Stars and Stripes, a canine POW-MIA flag, one with a bone insignia, and the Red Lake Ojibwe flag of Child and Thunder's nation. Dogs even staff "the powwow stands selling Indian fast food." Windy Girl awakes with a better understanding of the importance of the powwow in Native American cultures. Child's simple text will help young readers understand the significance of the Ojibwe powwow traditions, and Jourdain's (Lac La Croix First Nation) Ojibwe translation adds dimension.Simultaneously fanciful and reverent, this is a joyous look at a crucial tradition. (Picture book. 4-7) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
The Day You Begin
 Jacqueline Woodson
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. School-age children encounter and overcome feelings of difference from their peers in the latest picture book from Woodson.This nonlinear story centers on Angelina, with big curly hair and brown skin, as she begins the school year with a class share-out of summer travels. Text and illustrations effectively work together to convey her feelings of otherness as she reflects on her own summer spent at home: "What good is this / when others were flying," she ponders while leaning out her city window forlornly watching birds fly past to seemingly faraway places. Lpez's incorporation of a ruler for a door, table, and tree into the illustrations creatively extends the metaphor of measuring up to others. Three other childrenRigoberto, a recent immigrant from Venezuela; a presumably Korean girl with her "too strange" lunch of kimchi, meat, and rice; and a lonely white boy in what seems to be a suburbexperience more-direct teasing for their outsider status. A bright jewel-toned palette and clever details, including a literal reflection of a better future, reveal hope and pride in spite of the taunting. This reassuring, lyrical book feels like a big hug from a wise aunt as she imparts the wisdom of the world in order to calm trepidatious young children: One of these things is not like the other, and that is actually what makes all the difference.A must-have book about the power of one's voice and the friendships that emerge when you are yourself. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780399246531 Woodson (Brown Girl Dreaming) imagines being "an only" in the classroom-what it's like to be the only one with an accent ("No one understands the way words curl from your mouth"), the only one who stayed home during summer vacation ("What good is this/ when other students were flying/ and sailing"), the only one whose lunch box is filled with food "too strange or too unfamiliar for others to love as you do." Without prescribing sympathy, Woodson's poetic lines give power to each child's experience. She describes the moment when the girl who didn't go on vacation speaks her truth, her "voice stronger than it was a minute ago." She has cared for her sister all summer, she tells her classmates, reading and telling stories: "Even though we were right on our block it was like/ we got to go EVERYWHERE." And "all at once" in the seconds after sharing one's story, something shifts, common ground is revealed, and "the world opens itself up a little wider/ to make some space for you." López (Drum Dream Girl) paints the book's array of children as students in the same classroom; patterns and colors on the children's clothing and the growing things around them fill the spreads with life. Woodson's gentle, lilting story and López's artistry create a stirring portrait of the courage it takes to be oneself: "There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you until the day you begin/ to share your stories." Ages 5-8. Author's agent: Kathleen Nishimoto, William Morris Endeavor. Illustrator's agent: Stefanie Von Borstel, Full Circle. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780399246531 A girl with honey-brown skin and curly hair waits outside a classroom: There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you. The omniscient narrator continues that sometimes others won't understand your words or might turn up their noses at your lunch. But then a small thing say, you and a classmate have siblings who share the same name changes everything up. Woodson catches the uncertainty, even fear, that comes with new situations. But her lyrical language also captures the moment when confidence sparks and friendships are born. In one instance, the girl feels different because her classmates have brought souvenirs from their travels to France, India, and South Carolina, while she stayed home and read books. Of course, books can take you anywhere, a point well made, though not all readers will relate to the idea of far-flung travel. The bold, bright artwork features a diverse cast of kids, all with huge eyes. The important message plays out in a striking design that mixes the everyday with flights of fancy. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Woodson, a recent National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, is one of kidlit's brightest stars, and this should find lots of eager hands.--Ilene Cooper Copyright 2018 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780399246531 K-Gr 2-A beautiful and inclusive story that encourages children to find the beauty in their own lives and share it with the world. A young girl with brown skin and curly black hair stays home through the summer to watch over her younger sister while her classmates travel to distant lands. A young boy from Venezuela arrives in his new school and finds the children in his class do not speak his language. Another child brings a lunch that her classmates find too strange while another isn't physically able to keep up with the play of other children. Each child feels very alone until they begin to share their stories and discover that it is nearly always possible to find someone a little like you. López's vibrant illustrations bring the characters' hidden and unspoken thoughts to light with fantastic, swirling color. Shifting hues and textures across the page convey their deep loneliness and then slowly transition into bright hopeful possibilities. Full-bleed illustrations on every page are thick with collaged patterns and textures that pair perfectly with melodic prose that begs to be read aloud. Though the story focuses on four singular experiences, there's an essential acknowledgment that everyone will experience a time when no one is quite like them, when they can't find their voice, or when they feel very alone. Woodson's superlative text sees each character turns that moment of desolation into an opportunity to be brave and find hope in what they have in common. VERDICT This masterful story deserves a place in every library.-Laken Hottle, Providence Community Library © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780399246531 Venezuelan immigrant Rigoberto looks crestfallen when the class laughs at his name; other classmates feel left out when friends make fun of their lunch foods. And the (unnamed) African American protagonist has trouble finding her voice when her classmates recount their summer vacations until she realizes books have afforded her boundless travel. Woodson's story about feeling like an outcast values literacy, reading, and imagination. Lspez's illustrations feature vivid, brilliant colors. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
Dont Touch My Hair!
Book Jacket   Sharee Miller
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Miller tells it like it is while giving children of color permission to set boundaries when people reach out to touch their curly, kinky, or nappy hair.Aria, a brown-skinned protagonist, opens this picture book by introducing herself with a double-page, gutter-spanning image of her smiling face and her full head of hair that takes up three-quarters of the spread: "I'm Aria, and this is my hair." Aria loves her hair, but others do tooso much so that they want to touch it even without permission. Aria decidedly does not like this. To demonstrate how she avoids touching hands, she appears eight times on one pagein full aerial split, karate-style airborne kick, curled into a fetal position, tentative headstand, and morehemmed in almost all the way around by groping, outstretched hands. Even when she attempts to escape underwater, an octopus and a mermaid chase her, tentacles and arms extended. Wherever she travels, she can't get away from this threatuntil she learns a strategy that works. Miller's variegated watercolor, pencil, and ink illustrations effectively portray Aria's verve as well as her frustrations. The cover image and several others depict disembodied hands and arms in many skin tones reaching for Aria's hair, suggesting that this intrusive behavior can come from anyone.Miller's lighthearted touch effectively delivers a serious, necessary message about respecting boundaries. (Picture book. 3-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780316562584 Aria is an African-American girl who's proud of her showstopping hair "that grows up toward the sun like a flower." But people keep confusing admiration with acquiescence: strangers, she laments, "are so curious about my hair that they try to touch it without even asking for permission!" It feels like the entire universe has lost its sense of boundaries. In a series of wonderfully expressive, humorous cartoons that mix full-page and spot art, Aria imagines encountering underwater creatures, forest animals, and even aliens who reach for her curls while cooing, "How do you get it so big?" She contemplates hiding; she loses her temper ("That's it. That's enough. DON'T TOUCH MY HAIR!"). Then she resolves to set limits, and, in speaking up for herself, she begins to feel free, respected, and in charge of her own body again. Storytelling by Miller (Princess Hair) is frank, funny, and revelatory, with a beleaguered but never beaten protagonist with whom readers will instantly connect. And her book embraces audiences of all backgrounds, nudging them, in different ways, to a new level of understanding. Ages 4-8. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780316562584 Aria loves her soft and bouncy hair and so does everyone else. Aria avoids the intrusive hands of people who want to feel her tresses, with Miller's illustrations ably depicting the anxiety of being surrounded by people disregarding personal space. Aria imagines herself escaping in fantastic scenes where she encounters more creatures who also seek to touch her hair. Finally, she seeks refuge on an island, but gets lonely and reluctantly rejoins civilization. But when yet another person stretches toward her, Aria says, DON'T TOUCH MY HAIR! Aria acknowledges everyone's interest in her hair, and firmly states they can only touch with her permission. The diverse crowd of people around her look repentant, and thereafter, people ask to touch, and listen when Aria says no. This story can jump-start conversations about setting boundaries. Ink drawings with bright watercolors match the positive tone and humor of the story, and colored-pencil scribbles enhance the texture of Aria's hair. Aria is a character with a healthy self-image who demonstrates courage and grace in communicating with others.--Michelle Young Copyright 2018 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316562584 PreS-Gr 2-Miller follows up Princess Hair with more follicle-related fun. Smiling bright, brown-skinned Aria happily shares the things she loves about her bouncy, beautiful hair. She receives plenty of compliments from others, too, which she enjoys-but she resolutely does not enjoy when people try to touch her hair without asking. In a series of amusing and increasingly wacky situations, Aria tries to flee from overly curious hands, first situating herself behind a shrub, then diving underwater with a mermaid, and even leaving Earth for the safety of space (where she is approached by two meddlesome aliens) all to no avail; everyone still wants to touch her hair! When she finally escapes notice, Aria feels lonely. She returns home, but she has something to say: "This is MY hair.please, just look and don't touch without my permission." Miller has managed to put an upbeat, silly spin on a relatable problem for many children that can be awkward and upsetting. Aria has an adventure, but more importantly, she is able to state her boundaries with others when it comes to physical contact. The book closes with examples of Aria saying both yes and no when asked about her hair, and those wishes being respected. Miller's bold mixed media art is a delight; each page brims with texture, from Aria's ebullient coils filling a spread to the zany houses of her bustling hometown. Young audiences will love pointing out each vibrant detail. VERDICT An engaging, colorful lesson in personal space that will shine whether read aloud or one-on-one.-Ashleigh Williams, School Library Journal © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316562584 African American girl Aria's "big" and "bouncy" hair is irresistible. From random strangers to mermaids and space aliens, everyone wants to touch Aria's hair. The problem: they do it without her permission. Miller provides a lighthearted way to start discussions about body autonomy and consent, and her vibrant, expressive illustrations clearly visualize why readers should always ask before they touch. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
Drawn Together
Book Jacket   Minh Le
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781484767603 This story from Lê (Let Me Finish!), about a Thai-speaking grandfather and his assimilated American grandson, testifies to the mighty power of art. The opening sequence shows the boy getting dropped off by his mother and glumly ringing his grandfather's doorbell. A gulf of age and language separates the two. Though the grandfather is dressed in Western clothes, he puts his hands together in a traditional Thai greeting. In the panel artwork that follows, the grandfather's speech appears in Thai script, the boy's in English. In despair, the boy pulls out his sketchbook and draws a boy wizard with a peaked hat. Grandfather, it turns out, can draw, too. His wizard, clothed in magnificent Thai ceremonial garb, is a showstopper. A phantasmagoric duel begins: "All the things we could never say come pouring out." Santat's work dazzles with layers of color, exquisitely worked traditional designs, and ambitious scale. With the grandfather drawing in his idiom and the boy in his, the two defeat the dragon of difference that separates them and discover that they do not need to be able to speak in order to communicate. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Stephen Barbara, InkWell Management. Illustrator's agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781484767603 [Books by Horn Book reviewers are not reviewed; we provide notice of publication and descriptive comment.] An English-speaking grandson and his Thai-speaking grandfather have trouble communicating in words--but with art supplies in their hands, they create a shared magical adventure involving warriors and dragons. Varied mixed-media panel illustrations incorporate culturally specific motifs in both the real-world setting and the fantastical story-within-a-story. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. The power of art takes center stage in this cleverly titled story of a Thai-speaking grandfather connecting to his assimilated American grandson. The title page introduces readers to a sullen-faced Asian boy as he walks up to a door and rings the bell. After a traditional bow of greeting, the grandfather, dressed like Mr. Rogers in a white shirt and red sweater, wordlessly welcomes the grandson inside. In paneled artwork, the two unsuccessfully attempt conversation over dinner, with the grandfather speaking in Thai script and the boy speaking in English. Sitting in the uncomfortable silence that cultural divides create, the awkward boy finally walks away to doodle on paper. He draws a wizard with a wand and a conical red hat. Grandpa, recognizing this creative outlet, fetches a sketchbook and, surprisingly, draws his version of a wizard: a tightly detailed warrior clothed in traditional Thai ceremonial dress. The young boy is amazed, marveling that "we see each other for the first time." The two begin a battle of imagination, wands and paintbrushes thrashing like swords. One draws in energetic colorful cartoons, the other with fierce black-and-white, precisely brushed drawings. Santat elevates their newfound shared passion into energetic, layered, and complex designs, separate and entwined at the same time. They clash with the dragon that divides them and build a new world together "that even words can't describe." L's compelling storyline is propelled forward by Santat's illustrations, each capturing both the universal longing to connect and the joy of sharing the creative process. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781484767603 *Starred Review* When a young Asian American boy visits his Thai-speaking grandfather, despite granddad's best efforts a hot dog for dinner, control of the TV remote the language barrier and the generational divide seem insurmountable. Until, that is, the boy brings out his paper and markers and they're matched by his grandfather's sketchbook and paintbrush. Together, they're drawn into a vibrant world of boy wizards and mythical Thai warriors, and all the things we could never say come pouring out. They discover each other in imaginary battle against a fearsome dragon, before the end of the evening heralds a new beginning for them both. Lê's poignant and deeply meaningful tale is rocketed into the stratosphere by Santat's dynamic and playful visuals, imaginatively conceived and action-packed even as they potently evoke the culture they're drawn from. Beneath the dynamism, Santat matches the more delicate emotions the story hinges on; one glance at the boy's face, dreading what's ahead of him as he waits for his grandfather to answer the door, attests to this. The writer-artist collaboration's success is also on display in subtle visual representation of the shifting relationship, as when the boy and grandfather, coming together in a final battle, exchange artistic weapons. Focus on an underrepresented culture; highly accessible emotions; concise, strong storytelling; and artistic magnificence make this a must-have.--Karp, Jesse Copyright 2010 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781484767603 PreS-Gr 2-An American-born child tells about his visit to his grandfather. Their meeting is awkward at first since the boy doesn't speak Thai; the older man doesn't speak English. The reluctant narrator's entrance into his grandfather's home begins before the title page and continues wordlessly in a series of panels. Different foods and television programs exacerbate their inability to communicate verbally, all depicted in spare text and panels of translucent illustrations. The boy gives up talking, instead opening his backpack to pull out a sketch of a superhero. He is surprised when his grandfather's sketchbook reveals another superhero, which leads them to discover "a world beyond words." The boy and his grandfather connect when creating an artful world: one colorful, childlike; the other in sophisticated black-and-white line drawings. When the magic seems to dissipate, a dragon enters and appears to separate them-but once again the pair is drawn together in a satisfying conclusion that requires few if any words. VERDICT This handsomely illustrated book is perfectly paced to express universal emotions that connect generations separated by time, experience, and even language. It is sure to appeal widely on many levels.-Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at -District of Columbia Public Library © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
Dreamers
 Yuyi Morales
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781974908233 PreS-Gr 1-A gentle guitar helps viewers float into the story of a mother and her child as they make the life-changing journey from Mexico to America. Vibrant animation brings to life author and illustrator Yuyi Morales's first important encounter with libraries and books, and how this experience impacted the challenges the author faced in having to communicate in a language she was not familiar with. A lively and colorful invitation into a new world, with a hopeful message for all dreamers. © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Based on her experience of leaving Mexico for the United States, Morales' latest offers an immigrant's tale steeped in hope, dreams, and love.This story begins with a union between mother and son, with arms outstretched in the midst of a new beginning. Soon after, mother and son step on a bridge, expansive "like the universe," to cross to the other side, to become immigrants. An ethereal city appears, enfolded in fog. The brown-skinned woman and her child walk through this strange new land, unwilling to speak, unaccustomed to "words unlike those of our ancestors." But soon their journey takes them to the most marvelous of places: the library. In a series of stunning double-page spreads, Morales fully captures the sheer bliss of discovery as their imaginations take flight. The vibrant, surreal mixed-media artwork, including Mexican fabric, metal sheets, "the comal where I grill my quesadillas," childhood drawings, and leaves and plants, represents a spectacular culmination of the author's work thus far. Presented in both English and Spanish editions (the latter in Teresa Mlawer's translation), equal in evocative language, the text moves with purpose. No word is unnecessary, each a deliberate steppingstone onto the next. Details in the art provide cultural markers specific to the U.S., but the story ultimately belongs to one immigrant mother and her son. Thanks to books and stories (some of her favorites are appended), the pair find their voices as "soadores of the world."A resplendent masterpiece. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780823440559 Two "migrantes," a mother and her infant son, arrive on "the other side." Here they meet cultural challenges (customs, language) that are resolved at the San Francisco Public Library, with its "unimaginable" wealth of books that offer paths to literacy, community, even a career. Occasional Spanish words enrich the succinct, gently poetic text, illustrated with rich and vibrant pen-and-ink, acrylic, and collage art. Back matter sets the narrative in personal and historical context. Concurrently published in Spanish as Soqadores. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780823440559 In warm, sparkling prose that moves easily from English to Spanish and back, Caldecott Honor artist Morales (Viva Frida) traces the journey that she and her small son took in 1994, when they immigrated from Mexico to the United States. ("My Story," included after the text, supplies the details.) A woman and a child struggle to understand the rules as they explore San Francisco. (When the two play in a public fountain, a policeman approaches, hands on hips; "Ay!" the mother cries in dismay.) Then they discover the library: "Suspicious./ Improbable./ Unbelievable./ Surprising." It's a miraculous oasis-countless books to borrow, information about everything in the world. There, she says, "We learned to read,/ to speak,/ to write,/ and/ to make/ our voices heard." As the languages blend, so do the images. Mexican motifs-a genial skeleton, a painted dog, embroidered flowers-dance through the pages, keeping mother and son company on their journey, and the library shelves swoop and curve, embracing them. (Readers will recognize favorite titles among the carefully painted book covers.) Many books about immigration describe the process of making new friends and fitting in; this one describes what it's like to become a creative being in two languages, and to learn to love in both. "We are two languages./ We are lucha./ We are resilience./ We are hope." A Spanish-language version will be published simultaneously. Ages 4-8. Agent: Charlotte Sheedy, Charlotte Sheedy Literary Agency. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780823440559 *Starred Review* Yuyi Morales and her son are dreamers the books they read allow them to imagine a new life in a new country that doesn't always welcome them. Based on her own immigration tale, the multi-award-winning Morales' newest picture book recounts the challenges and wonders of living in a new country. She and her son experience discrimination because they don't always know the rules and customs of their new home. English becomes a barrier that makes it difficult for them to fully comprehend the world around them. Despite it all, Morales and her son find hope in the books of their local library, and their voracious reading leads them to create their own books. The narrative text is poetic and full of emotion. The English version is sprinkled with Spanish words like migrantes, caminantes, and amor, which monolingual readers will understand from the context of the story. In classic Morales style, the mixed-media illustrations are breathtaking, created through painting, drawing, photography, and embroidery. The joyous imagination and intricacy of each illustration will make readers of all ages explore them further. The pages with the library, for example, depict the covers of other significant Latinx children's books like Carmen Lomas Garza's In My Family / En mi familia (2000) and Jorge Argueta's A Movie in My Pillow / Una pelicula en mi almohada (2001). This rich offering launches the new Neal Porter Books imprint and can be paired with Duncan Tonatiuh's Undocumented: A Worker's Fight (2018) for its focus on the Latinx immigrant experience.--Sonia Alejandra Rodríguez Copyright 2018 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780823440559 PreS-Gr 3-The acclaimed creator of Niño Wrestles the World and Viva Frida has crafted another masterpiece in this autobiographical picture book. From her son's birth to their move to the United States from Mexico in the mid-1990s to their often fraught- and barrier-filled life, the tale highlights the many obstacles immigrants face while trying to survive in a new country that doesn't readily welcome non-English-speaking people of color. The pair encounters respite at the library where, with the help of librarians, they find a home in the children's section. The dreamlike, lyrical text captures the wonder of childhood, learning, and discovery through books. The magical art marries the succinct and powerful narrative in a resplendent celebration of literacy, language, and the transformative power of the picture book form. Readers will delight in finding Morales's tributes to kid lit classics, new and old, throughout the spreads. The majestic illustrations often incorporate Mexican traditions and mythology and they resound with mythic imagery, speaking volumes about the love and dreams shared between mother and child. Morales explains in an author's note that she and her son are not "Dreamers" in the modern sense-"young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children"-but dreamers in the sense of all immigrants who come to a new country. Also appended are a thorough list of the books referenced in the artwork and a fascinating note on the materials used in the creation of this work, including a nib pen that once belonged to Maurice Sendak, scanned images of Morales's studio floor, her and her son's childhood drawings, and more. VERDICT- This excellent memoir encapsulates the fears, hopes, and dreams that come along with immigrating to a new place and building a new life in an unfamiliar and often hostile landscape. A timely and much-needed selection.-Shelley M. Diaz, School Library Journal © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
The Fox on the Swing
 Evelina Daciute
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780500651568 This fresh and unexpected Lithuanian import transcends easy categorization. Paul's father flies helicopters, his mother is a potter, and they live in a tree. In episodic passages, Daciute lays out these whimsical details with cheerful matter-of-factness. A parade of people, vehicles, and animals through Kiudulaite's colorful digital collages contributes to the atmosphere of bouncy unpredictability. On his daily journey to buy rolls, Paul meets a fox in the park-she likes to sleep on the swing-and they become friends. She's moody, even prickly, but she addresses Paul like a peer. "Will I always find you here?" Paul asks. "Of course not," the fox replies. "When I need to be somewhere else, that's where I'll go." Yet it's Paul who leaves first, as his family moves to a bigger tree in a bigger city. Stories about moving often imagine the main character gradually adapting to the new place, but Daciute's story immediately gives Paul what he most wishes for-a reunion with a friend. Ages 4-8. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. This Lithuanian import portrays the friendship developing between a boy and a fox.An omniscient narrator introduces Paul's family: His father pilots a helicopter, and his mother makes pottery. More unusual is their dwelling, which is a tall tree in the park. Close observers of the zany mixed media and digital collages will glimpse a bushy orange tail early on. Paul's first encounter with the lanky fox, clad in blue boots and enjoying a swing in the park, is during his daily walk home from the bakery. Although the fox engages in philosophical and somewhat mysterious conversations (reminiscent but not duplicative of her counterpart in Antoine de Saint-Exupry's The Little Prince), the boy anticipates these visits even though it means sharing his bakery treat. He learns how to be a friend in ways appropriate to her moods, especially exulting in the swinging and shouting about things that make them happy. Suddenly concerned one day, Paul asks: "Will I always find you here?" She replies: "Of course not.When I need to be somewhere else, that's where I'll go." The text is longer than in many American picture books, but there is much to savor: the honesty of unspoken ruminations, challenging dialogue, and myriad unexpected details, such as a sign-carrying parade of protesting birds. The humans' skin tones range from Paul's paper-white to pink or red.An enormously satisfying surprise completes this wholly original narrative. (Picture book. 5-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
Fox the Tiger.
Book Jacket   Corey R. Tabor
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062398697 Fox thinks tigers are very cool, so he paints stripes on himself and "goes for a prowl." Soon Tiger meets Turtle, who wants to be a race car, and Rabbit, who wants to be a robot. But after rain washes away their costumes, Squirrel's admiration ("Wow! A fox!") helps Fox realize that foxes are pretty cool, too. Expressive illustrations further a highly readable text, and the plot will capture brand-new readers' interest. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Fox and friends play an imaginative game of pretend. While reading a book about tigers, Fox (Fox and the Bike Ride, 2017, etc.) wishes they were Tiger. "Tigers are big. / Tigers are fast. / Tigers are sneaky. // Tigers are the best," Fox reads. Paintbrush in hand, they paint their fur with stripes to transform into Tiger. Then, on a prowl, Tiger comes upon Turtle. Turtle initially mistakes Tiger for Fox before they are corrected. The exchange sparks an idea in Turtle, who disappears and comes back as Race Car: "I zip and zoom." Rabbit, a bystander, also gains inspiration. They disappear, return wearing a cardboard box, and reveal that they are now Robot: "I beep bop boop." The trio plays until a sudden rain washes away their disguises. But all is not lost: A passer-by, Squirrel, exclaims that Fox (as Fox) is "the best," no stripes needed. Using fewer than 60 words, Tabor creates a wonderful arc that includes an open ending (Squirrel paints themselves orange in the wordless final spread). The digitally rendered cartoon illustrationsoriginally created with pencil, watercolor, and crayonare energetic and expressive. The overarching message of self-love is a good one, but the no-fuss acceptance of changing identities in text and dialogue (even if they are just pretend) is even better. Feel-good, make-believe fun. (Early reader. 3-6) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062398697 PreS-Gr 1-Fox yearns to be a tiger. "Tigers are big. Tigers are fast.Tigers are the best." Fox and his friends, Turtle and Rabbit, spend the day pretending until a rainstorm washes away their disguises. Tabor uses pencil, watercolor, and crayon in a bright, but earthy palette. Most pages have a single illustration which provides context for one or two sentences. After Fox paints himself to look like a tiger, he admires his new stripes in a full-length mirror, can of paint nearby: "There. Now I am a tiger," says Tiger." The three friends have simple, but expressive cartoon features that add emotion to the story. Limited background details, creamy white pages, and an uncomplicated font are a perfect combination for an emerging reader. A humorous ending provides a positive message of self-acceptance that would have more power if Fox's epiphany came from within, rather than from the affirmation of others. VERDICT This is Fox's first appearance in an easy reader and it will surely be popular with children who enjoyed him in picture book format.-Lisa Taylor, Florida State College, Jacksonville © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
Good Rosie!
Book Jacket   Kate DiCamillo
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780763689797 Rosie the terrier and her middle-aged owner, George, are loving companions and creatures of habit. But when Rosie sees her reflection in her empty food bowl ("The other dog never answers"), she yearns for companions of her own species. One day, George decides to visit the local dog park, and Rosie is more than a little hesitant ("Rosie does not like the dog park. There are too many dogs."). Then she meets Fifi the Chihuahua and Maurice the Saint Bernard. Though their friendship is not without initial missteps (Rosie must overcome her innate reticence, Maurice must promise that he will not try to eat Fifi-again), it changes Rosie's world. DiCamillo's deep empathy for her shy, lonely protagonist will come as no surprise, but her portrayal of Rosie as genuinely puzzled by the mechanics of friendship is particularly astute. Bliss (Diary of a Worm) works in a paneled comics format, and it proves felicitous for his formal drawing style and deadpan humor. This is no shaggy dog story-it's thoughtful and funny, and a real gift for emerging readers. Ages 5-8. Author's and illustrator's agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A lonely, brown-and-white terrier named Rosie learns how to stand up to a bully and how to make new friends in this understated, gently humorous story.Rosie lives with her owner, George, a middle-aged, balding man with glasses and suspenders and a rather staid lifestyle. Though Rosie loves George, she would really like to meet another dog, so on their daily walks they begin visiting a dog park. At first Rosie doesn't know how to make friends, but a tiny, bouncy dog named Fifi teaches Rosie and a blustery Saint Bernard named Maurice how it's done. Rosie's journey takes her from loneliness through fear and bravery and then on to joyous companionship with her new pals. By the conclusion, the three dogs are running and playing together, and George is chatting with two women on a park bench, making friends of his own. George is white, and two of the other dog owners are people of color. Each of the three dogs has a distinct personality, conveyed both in the succinct text and in engaging watercolor illustrations laid out in panels of different configurations as well as some full-page illustrations. Cartoonist Bliss' humor shines as it works with DiCamillo's understated text.Subtle lessons about entering a new and unfamiliar territory, finding companions, and the value of a friendly, approachable attitude are all conveyed with a delicate touch. Good Rosiegood story. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780763689797 Timid terrier Rosie and middle-aged man George lead a humdrum life until she meets Saint Bernard Maurice and vivacious little Fifi at the dog park. Comic-book panels, with easy narrative text and balloon dialogue, make this a good choice for new readers; Blisss crisp line-and-watercolor illustrations are lovingly attentive to real dog poses. DiCamillo expertly drops musings about the quirks of friendship into the deceptively straightforward story. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780763689797 Short, episodic chapters and a gentle plotline make this winsome graphic novel particularly well suited to early readers. George and Rosie, a brown-and-white terrier, have a pretty solid routine of breakfast, a walk, and looking at clouds, but Rosie is lonely. George, a balding, bespectacled gentleman with a cane and a long coat, eventually catches on and takes Rosie to the dog park. But new dogs are scary to shy Rosie, and it takes some time before she finally warms up to the other pups at the park. Bliss' naturalistic, amiable cartoons appear on wide, open panels, and close-ups of George's and the dogs' faces make characters' feelings unmistakable, which will be particularly helpful for newly independent readers. Despite the story's low page count, DiCamillo infuses a surprising amount of character development: George recognizes his pal's loneliness; Rosie gets over her shyness; and three very different dogs figure out how to be friends. With humor and heart, this easy, inviting volume offers an empowering message to little ones nervous about making new friends.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2010 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780763689797 PreS-Gr 1-Rosie the terrier loves her owner, George, but she feels lonely. Realizing that his pet needs to befriend other canines, George takes her to the park. But Rosie doesn't know any of these dogs, and she doesn't like Maurice, a hulking, drooly St. Bernard, or Fifi, a perky little papillon-at least not at first. Yet when an encounter between the other two dogs almost goes dreadfully wrong, Rosie steps in and discovers she might know more about friendship than she thought. Dividing the book into nine brief parts, author and illustrator allow this quiet graphic novel to unfold slowly. Though Bliss depicts idyllic, verdant parks full of smiling pups, he lets a hint of melancholy creep in as Rosie gazes longingly at dog-shaped clouds in the sky and her own reflection in her empty food dish. DiCamillo's contemplative, understated text perfectly complements Bliss's elegantly composed watercolors. Forging new bonds can be both tantalizing and overwhelming, they acknowledge, but children will feel up to the challenge after seeing Rosie conquer her anxieties. VERDICT A superb friendship story and a lovely choice for one-on-one sharing, especially with little ones with first-day-of-school jitters.-Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
Hello Lighthouse
 Sophie Blackall
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. This tribute to lighthouses of an earlier era focuses on one lighthouse and its dedicated keeper. Perched "on the highest rock of a tiny island / at the edge of the world," the lighthouse shines for seafaring ships. A new keeper arrives, continuing the endless routine of polishing the lens, refilling the oil, trimming the wick, winding the clockwork, painting the round rooms, fishing, making tea, sending letters to his wife (in bottles), and writing daily in his logbook. One day, a ship delivering supplies brings the keeper's wife! The keeper rings a warning bell in fog, rescues wrecked sailors, and logs his baby's birth. When he's ill, his stalwart wife tends the light and maintains the logbook. Eventually, a mechanical light replaces the keeper. While the spare, unemotional text resembles a keeper's log, the book's vertical orientation echoes a lighthouse tower. Rendered in Chinese ink and watercolor, precise, detailed illustrations present the lighthouse surrounded by patterned blue, green, or gray waves depending on the weather or season, reinforcing its solitary enterprise. A cutaway interior view exposes a compact, contained world. Close-ups of the keeper and his wife (both white) in porthole-shaped frames and from unusual aerial views emphasize their isolated, intimate, circular environment. An "About Lighthouses" section adds insightful detail. A fascinating, splendidly executed peek into both the mundane and the dramatic aspects of lighthouse life. (Picture book. 4-7) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780316362382 *Starred Review* When a new keeper arrives at a remote lighthouse, he sets out to make it a home, and in Blackall's rhythmic lines and gorgeous artwork, his adoration for the building, with its round rooms and windy ocean views, warmly comes through. Amid his responsibilities of lighting the beacon, clanging the bell in a fog, recording events in the logbooks, and helping ensure the safety of passing sailors, the lighthouse keeper makes a home with his wife, has a daughter, and feels remorse when he has to leave to make way for an automated light. All the while, Blackall's bright, crisp artwork depicts the changing skies and seas around the proud, solid lighthouse. Softly chopping waves give way to billowing white breakers that crash against the rocks. Clear blue skies transform into the black, inky clouds of a storm. It occasionally seems dangerous to live in a lighthouse, but the repeated refrain of Hello! . . . Hello! . . . Hello! is stalwart, friendly, and reassuring, just like a lighthouse should be, and the adoring expressions and gestures of the family living in it quietly demonstrate their affection for the building. Blackall's charmingly old-fashioned art style is beautifully matched to this nostalgia-rich story, which imbues an antiquated place with warmth and wonder.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2018 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316362382 PreS-Gr 3-On the highest rock of a tiny island at the edge of the world stands a lighthouse. Every day and every night, the lighthouse guides the way for passing ships, as its keeper tends to the light and writes in his guidebook. Over time, the lighthouse becomes a constant fixture in the middle of the sea as endless waves, ships, winds, whales, fish, storms, and keepers come and go. Here, Blackall tells the story of a lighthouse and its keeper, and how they both serve the sea. In the end, a machine is able to tend the light and the keeper must move on. But he will be forever connected to his lighthouse. The keeper's own light across the bay shines back at the lighthouse, saying "hello!" Gorgeous and appealing illustrations done in Chinese ink and watercolor make readers feel as though they are inside the lighthouse along with the keeper, surrounded by the beauty and drama of the ever-changing sea. A spread full of information about lighthouses for those who seek further knowledge is appended. VERDICT A lovely picture book, recommended for all libraries. A delightful bedtime read perfect for one on one sharing.-Elizabeth Blake, Brooklyn Public Library © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316362382 This tall, narrow picture book opens as a new keeper arrives to take up his duties at a remote lighthouse; it ends with his departure, automation having made his job obsolete. In between we are treated to a series of snapshots of lighthouse-keeper life--a mix of routine and excitement. Blackall's gorgeous illustrations provide both homey detail and spectacular scenery. An extensive and lively author's note is appended. (c) Copyright 2018. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780316362382 Painted with the featherlight touch that distinguishes Caldecott Medalist Blackall's work, this graceful account of a lighthouse keeper's life celebrates a lost era. While it was lonely and sometimes dangerous, watching the lighthouse was monastic in its simplicity: "He tends the light and writes in the logbook." The lighthouse keeper readies his home for the arrival of his wife, who nurses him when he falls ill; then he helps her as she gives birth to their first child. Soon the family receives word that the lighthouse is to be fitted with a mechanical light, and their idyll comes to a serene end. Many spreads, delicate as painted porcelain, depict the lighthouse amid the breaking waves and changing life of the ocean. Seals bask, whales pass, and the aurora borealis flickers overhead. Repeated images of circles echo the lighthouse's circular rooms, from vignettes framed with nautical rope to a breathtaking sequence of the lighthouse-keeper's wife walking through her labor, each moment like the hand on the face of a clock. It's a jewel of a creation and a gift to those who dream of retreat. Ages 4-8. Agent: Nancy Gallt, Gallt + Zacker Literary. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
How Raven Got His Crooked Nose: An Alaskan Dena ina Fable.
 Mindy Dwyer
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781513260952 When Granddaughter rushes and spills blueberries, Grandmother explains how trickster raven Chulyen's nose became bent because he hurried. After Chulyen loses his beak, an old woman uses it as a tool; Chulyen steals his nose back, but without noticing it's now worn and crooked. Sprightly comic-style art and the inclusion of Dena'ina words make this an engaging retelling from southern Alaska. Reading list. Glos. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781513260952 PreS-Gr 2-A grandmother shares a traditional Dena'ina tale about Raven, an oft-featured trickster deity in Alaskan Native mythology. The Dena'ina people live in Southcentral Alaska, part of the Athabascan language group and this tale was passed on from an elder to the authors (his niece and great nephew). In the book, the grandmother and child perform traditional activities (berry picking, salmon fishing, and cleaning) in a contemporary setting while she retells the story. (One quibble regarding the chronology of the artwork: the pair is first shown cleaning a fish and next they are shown catching one, which may confuse young readers.) The font and illustration style differ in the present narrative and the animal fable. The scenes of the retelling are visually strong; their bold style pays homage to traditional painting and mask styles. In comparison, the artwork accompanying the matriarch and her grandchild looks amateurish. Laced throughout are Dena'ina words with pronunciation guides. Back matter includes more information on Dena'ina storytelling and people, a glossary, and suggested further reading. These provide only the briefest glimpses into a complex culture, but will round out the story sufficiently for most readers and encourage the curious to seek more information. The conversational writing style and the clean layout design make this an easy read-aloud choice to share with a group. VERDICT A fine addition to nonfiction collections to highlight Dena'ina culture and traditional stories.-Elizabeth Nicolai, Anchorage Public Library, AK © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A young Alaskan Dena'ina granddaughter rushes so much that her grandmother tells her about Chulyen, the raven.Chulyen's nose was once straight and beautiful. Being a trickster though, Chulyen often got into trouble. One day, he wakes without his nose (and is far too embarrassed ever to explain how it happened). Later, a Chida (old woman) finds Chulyen's missing nose and uses it as a tool until it becomes bent and worn. Chulyen decides he should use his powers to change into a human, then creates an army of sand people to scare the villagers away. He hurriedly searches Chida's house, finally finding his nose just as his magic is fading, and jams it back ononly later to discover that it's crooked and will stay that way. Both authorsa mother and sonare of Dena'ina heritage and grew up listening to community elders' stories. In this retelling, which is gently laced with Dena'ina vocabulary, readers learn not only a cautionary tale, but also facts about the culture, both as Chida uses Chulyen's nose in her work and in a closing note and glossary. Dwyer's illustrations range from soft tones when depicting the modern-day human characters to stark contrasting colors and bold patterns with Chulyen, the trickster raven.Both entertaining and instructive, a refreshing breath of air from the far north. (further reading) (Picture book/folktale. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781513260952 In a visually striking yet rather muddied retelling of a native Alaskan myth, a grandmother recites a story to her granddaughter about Chulyen, or Raven, to demonstrate how "it is always best to take our time and do things right." Working in graphic novel-style panels, Dwyer introduces Chulyen, who is boldly depicted with patterned black and purple plumage and lime-green eyes. After losing his beak in an unidentified accident, the bird fastens on a replacement beak made from white bark and goes to find his old one ("When he really thought about it, Chulyen did know where his nose was"). An elderly woman has found it on the shore and is using it as a household tool. In an especially surreal interlude, Raven changes himself into humanesque form, standing on long, black legs and wearing a feathery blue-black beard. Stealing into the woman's home, he finds his beak, but "because of his rush, he jammed it back on without care," causing it to be forever crooked. Dwyer's use of strong contrasting colors brings a fresh, modern sensibility to this tale, while patterns and motifs are suggestive of traditional Dena'ina art. Ages 5-8. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
I Walk with Vanessa: A Story about a Simple Act of Kindness
Book Jacket   Kerascoet
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781524769550 PreS-Gr 3-A picture book without words, but with images that speak volumes. This story, inspired by true events, follows Vanessa along her journey as the new kid in school. Like most new students, she feels nervous and even unwelcome at first, and she is treated unkindly on her walk home. Another child notices the bullying and decides to befriend Vanessa the very next day. What happens next is unexpected and quite beautiful as the whole school comes together to stand by Vanessa and show how a small act of kindness can unite an entire community. Created by a husband-and-wife team of illustrators who are known for their work on the critically acclaimed graphic novel Beautiful Darkness and most recently the picture book Malala's Magic Pencil, Kerascoët's latest book is powerful in its simplicity. The illustrations explore the various feelings of hurt, powerlessness, and anger that arise when being bullied or witnessing bullying, and the many positive feelings that accompany acts of acceptance and inclusion. A special afterword with advice for children and adults on how to help those who may be bullied or hurt is appended. The message is powerful: one small act can make a difference and change the world. VERDICT A simple, beautiful story with an empowering lesson and call to action. Recommended for every library.-Elizabeth Blake, Brooklyn Public Library © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781524769550 In this wordless story, a dark-skinned girl (Vanessa) arrives in class and is shown a seat. She spends most of her day alone, but after school, a blond boy approaches, yelling and provoking tears. Another girl observes this interaction and becomes upset. The next morning, she stops at Vanessa's house to accompany her to school. As they walk along, other children join them, and everyone arrives at school as a cohesive group, minus the now isolated bully. French duo Marie Pommepuy and Sébastien Cosset (Paul and Antoinette, 2016), aka Kerascoët, here share a story that demonstrates how simple acts of kindness can turn a bullying situation around. The ink-and-watercolor artwork uses full color for the children (focusing on their expressive faces), and often mutes (or omits) the backgrounds. Comics conventions are used to good effect, and the final spreads feature the large, ethnically diverse cast of children. Appended with notes about bullying, this will be a welcome addition to the choose-kindness shelf.--Weisman, Kay Copyright 2017 Booklist
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781524769550 In this wordless story, brown-skinned newcomer Vanessa is bullied by a white boy as she walks home alone from school. A girl classmate witnesses the abuse; the next morning she walks to school with Vanessa and they're joined by more supporters. Watercolor and ink illustrations excel at communicating emotions; a mix of vignettes and full-page illustrations expertly controls the pacing. Bullying-related resources are appended. (c) Copyright 2018. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. In this wordless book, new girl Vanessa, shy and withdrawn, becomes a bully's target after school and finally runs home in tears.Another little girl sees it happen and is concerned enough to tell all of her friends, who also become concerned and wander home, sad for Vanessa. The observant girl stays up late, worrying, and the next morning, has the idea to go to Vanessa's house and offer to walk her to school, which she does. They're joined by one more kid, then another, and another, until a smiling throng accompanies Vanessa to school, with the bully skulking away. (Adult readers may recall a similar real-life scenario that took place at Baylor University in 2016, when a black student was racially bullied and then 300 students walked her to class.) In this book, Vanessa is black, and the protagonist has light brown skin and straight black hair. The bully is white, and the rest of the students are different ethnicities and races. Kerascot's sweet, charming illustrations do the talking in this bookno words appear, and none are needed. Each page is lovingly and respectfully drawn using a lot of white space, spare application of bright watercolor, and thick ink linework kept simple but loaded with impact and emotion. Tips for children on helping a target of bullying and language for adults to use when talking about bullying with children follow the story.A wonderfully illustrated, hopeful book that can help caregivers tackle an emotionally fraught subject with even very young children. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781524769550 In this powerful wordless tale by the French duo Kerascoët (Paul and Antoinette), a child reaches out to a fellow pupil who has been bullied. Vanessa isn't the only child of color in her school, but she is new; the teacher introduces her, and she sits by herself. On the way home, she's accosted by a boy with yellow hair, cries, and runs back to her house. Another girl sees what has happened, and, in an important series of vignettes, the artists make it clear how much the incident upsets her-one nighttime spread shows both girls awake and despondent in their bedrooms. In the morning, the girl invites Vanessa to walk to school with her, and they are soon joined by other children. It's not a story about bullying per se-although Vanessa's pain is evident, her emotions are not its focus. Instead, it looks at stepping up and being an ally. The wordless pages and small, toylike figures make this a good choice for young children who can work out for themselves what has happened, what Vanessa's new friend does, and why it works. Ages 4-8. Agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Agency. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
Imagine!
Book Jacket   Raul Colon
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781481462730 Though Colón (Draw!) grew up in New York City, he didn't visit the city's art museums until he was an adult. The powerful idea of encountering original modern masterworks as a child, his author's note says, inspired this wordless fantasy. Using the deeply saturated hues and combed textures of his signature style, the artist draws a brown-skinned boy hopping onto his skateboard, sailing across the Brooklyn Bridge, and heading into the Museum of Modern Art, checking his helmet and board at the entrance. Inside, he encounters Rousseau's The Sleeping Gypsy, Picasso's Three Musicians, and Matisse's Icarus. He's awed by the paintings-Colón draws him with his hands clasped behind his head-and is overjoyed when the figures burst from their frames. After dancing with the boy out onto the street, they tour famous New York landmarks together-fast-moving stills show the figures in improbable N.Y.C. settings with humorous believability-before returning to the museum. Back in Brooklyn, the figures remain in the boy's mind, and he creates some magnificent art of his own. Colón's vibrant scenes make it clear that visiting works of art can breathe magic into the everyday and inspire further creativity afterward. Ages 4-8. Agent: Gail Morgan, Morgan Gaynin Agency. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781481462730 PreS-Gr 2-A young boy skateboards across the Brooklyn Bridge to the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. There he encounters works by some of the most famous artists in the collection: Rousseau, Picasso, and Matisse. The enchanting figures leap off their canvases and join the boy on a tour of the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, Times Square, and Coney Island before returning to their frames. On his way home, the newly inspired child envisions painting murals on the sides of the buildings he passes and falls asleep with his head filled with the images he's internalized. In an author's note, Colón explains that he never saw original art in museums as a child, but was overwhelmed with emotion when he encountered the paintings as an adult. His wordless picture book captures the drama of a personal artistic experience and the lasting impact it can have. The paintings he represents in his subtly textured pencil, lithograph, and watercolor illustrations are recognizable to those who know them and captivating even for those meeting them for the first time. -VERDICT A compelling introduction to the power of art and an irresistible invitation to creativity, to boot. Best shared one-on-one or with a small group, with plenty of time to pore over the brilliant images within.-Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Library, NY © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781481462730 In Colsn's wordless love letter to the experience of visiting an art museum, a brown-skinned boy skateboards to Manhattan's Museum of Modern Art. Figures from paintings cavort with him throughout NYC, after which the boy's new friends return to their canvases and he creates a mural of their likenesses in his Brooklyn neighborhood. Colsn's mixed-media illustrations in his signature stippled and crosshatched textures hum with energy and jubilation. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. In Coln's newest wordless tribute to creativity, a young child kindles his imagination during an art museum visit. A boy (gendered in the author's note) emerges onto the city street with a skateboard in hand. The young skateboarder drifts through the city and over a bridge, ending up at the Museum of Modern Art. Inside, he surrenders his skateboard at a checkroom and strides into the museum. Similar to his previous reflection on imagination, Draw! (2014), Coln's latest again challenges readers to discover inspiration through ingenious means. Wonder fills the boy's face as he observes the artworks adorning the museum walls, including Pablo Picasso's Three Musicians, Henri Rousseau's The Sleeping Gypsy, and Henri Matisse's Icarus. When the larger-than-life characters from these paintings break free from the canvas and join him, the boy and his newfound company dance their way out of the museum and onto the streets of New York City. What follows is a series of merry adventures sweeping past familiar landmarks like Times Square and the Statue of Liberty. Inspired by the author's museum experiences, the story leaps off every page thanks to the textured artwork brimming with buoyant body movement and cast in muted colors and striking patterns. It's over all too soon. A few goodbyes back in the museum, and the boy goes on his way, stopping briefly to leave his mark on the city's walls.Beautifully euphoric. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781481462730 *Starred Review* A brown-skinned boy, living in a New York City borough, rides his skateboard into Manhattan to visit the Museum of Modern Art for the first time. After the boy views several revered paintings, his inspired imagination enables him to enter one of the pictures and then lead the characters out of three separate works of art. He and seven of the images, including a dog and a lion, dance out of the museum. They all spend the day experiencing some New York City highlights, such as the Statue of Liberty and the Coney Island Cyclone roller coaster, eating hot dogs from a street vendor and having a sing-along in a park. Colón's signature colored pencils and watercolor scratchboard-style illustrations bring the magical adventure to life. Rich colors and textures create paintings readers will want to spend time studying. References to famous artists and their work are sprinkled throughout: Matisse's Icarus conjures up a hat when emerging from his frame; the flat, angular shapes of Picasso's Three Musicians become rounded and animated; and Rousseau's The Sleeping Gypsy awakens to join the fun. The author/illustrator has combined his love of music and illustration to create a delightful, wordless tribute to the arts, with a magical touch.--Owen, Maryann Copyright 2010 Booklist
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2019 (Younger Readers)
In the Past: From Trilobites to Dinosaurs to Mammoths in More than 500 Million Years
 David Elliott
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A dramatic portrait gallery of some of our planet's former residents down through the eras, with pithy odes in rhymed or free verse.Arranged chronologically from a Cambrian Period trilobite to the hairy Mammuthus of the Quaternary, Trueman's 21 subjects loom majesticallysometimes, as in the case of the gore-spattered Dimetrodon or the giant shark Megalodon, in entirely too-close-up views. They are also rendered in such naturalistic detail (for all that some bear almost human expressions) many viewers are likely to flinch as each page is turned. In his short but vivid lines, Elliott generally offers good reasons to be cautious: "The bad news: Like a centipede. Eight feet long. Or more. / The good news: Arthropleura was an herbivore." Or take saber-toothed Smilodon (please): "No compassion. / No tolerance. / No mercy. / No pity. / And definitely no / Here, kitty, kitty, kitty.' " Though the poet generally reflects the visual immediacy of the images, he sometimes takes a broader view; the tadpolelike Astraspis of the early Ordovician is "One note at the beginning / Of a never-ending song," and as for Tyrannosaurus rex, "even kings / are vanquished / when stars fall / from the sky." Many of the informal facts and observations he adds at the end are just as memorably phrased.Highlights from life's last 544 million years infused with humor and wonder. (Picture book/poetry. 5-10) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780763660734 This collection of imaginative, clever poems about ancient animals (all but one extinct) moves chronologically from trilobites in the Cambrian era to woolly mammoths from our current geologic time period, with good representation across species. The poems are knowing, humorous, and filled with scientific details. Dynamic, creatively composed mixed-media illustrations plunge readers into past environments using awesome, sometimes-scary perspectives. Timeline. (c) Copyright 2018. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780763660734 Gr 1-3-Softly detailed watercolors accompany poems about early life-forms in this moving examination of prehistoric Earth. At the bottom of each page is a small box noting the era of the topic creature and showing the range in millions of years. Each short poem communicates the name of the animal and some details about them with a sense of wonder and humor, often playing on readers' expectations. ("Dilophosaurus" is only three words: "Blessed/with/crests!") Most illustrations are a full spread in size. Trueman's mixed-media artwork is filled with texture and small details; muddy river banks, the fleshy ridges of the megalodon's mouth, the remains of trilobites, etc. The majesty of the larger creatures is also well communicated. An author's note discusses ongoing discoveries of fossils, and explains how the prehistoric eras built on each other like stairs. In addition, a "Notes on the Animals" segment lists each covered time period, the poems that fall within that era, and additional information on creatures. VERDICT Prehistoric beasts are an evergreen favorite among kids, and this wonderful combination of art, poetry, and science is a great addition to libraries.-Tamara Saarinen, Pierce County Library, WA © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780763660734 *Starred Review* Dinosaurs and other mammoth creatures might be the star attraction here, but the poems themselves are bite-size. In vivacious, often humorous verse, Elliott walks readers through prehistoric times, beginning with the tiny trilobite, which appeared more than 500 million years ago. That much time can be a difficult concept to grasp, but a time line at the bottom of each spread gives readers an assist as the book moves chronologically forward. The text walks a fine line between scientific and poetic, and for the most part, it succeeds gloriously. Each poem's title is the name of its subject. Some require very little introduction (the entirety of the poem for the Jurassic era Dilophosaurus is, quite simply, Blessed / with / crests!), while others are more elaborate the infamous T. rex certainly gets his due (Even kings / are vanquished / when stars fall / from the sky). It's not just dinosaurs profiled here; the book heads all the way into the Quaternary period (that's the one we're currently in) and introduces creatures like the saber-toothed tiger (Smilodon) and the Woolly Mammoth (Mammuthus). Trueman's full-bleed, vibrant portraits bring these long-extinct animals to energetic life, and a final spread offers up more scientific facts. A journey into the past that's a visual and linguistic joy.--Reagan, Maggie Copyright 2018 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780763660734 Elliott and Trueman take readers to the Cambrian period then work their way forward, highlighting unusual and long-gone creatures, several of which will be new to many readers. There's more than a whiff of caricature to Trueman's larger-than-life mixed-media portraits, not that the creatures are around to complain. A Dilophosaurus ("Blessed/ with/ crests!") looks downright startled, and a Yutyrannus is fearsome as it tromps across a snowy landscape ("Your discovery in China/ created quite a stir./ Could dinosaurs be feathered?/ They could. You were"). Elliott's clever, winking poems are chiefly interested in keeping readers entertained: "Some way you were among/ the first to leave the ocean/ and touch the wet black earth," he writes as an armored Eurpterus slinks out of the water. "We're glad you did,/ for what it's worth." But closing notes should satisfy their curiosity about these ancient beasts-or send them searching for additional information. Ages 3-7. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
Islandborn
 Junot Diaz
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780735229860 K-Gr 3-When Ms. Obi asks her students to draw a picture of the country they are originally from, the children are excited. All except for Lola, "What if you left before you could start remembering?" As Lola talks to some of her neighbors from the Island to draw from their memories, she learns of bats as big as blankets; a love of music and dancing; coconut water and sweet mangoes. And an island where "Even the people are like a rainbow-every shade ever made." With a place so beautiful, Lola wonders, why did people leave? Reluctantly, Mr. Mir, the building superintendent, tells her of a Monster that fell upon their Island and did as he pleased for 30 years. Though never mentioned by name, the country in question is the Dominican Republic. The Monster refers to the dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo. Lola learns from her assignment that "Just because you don't remember a place doesn't mean it's not in you." Espinosa's gloriously vibrant mixed-media illustrations portray a thriving community living under the shadow of the George Washington Bridge in Manhattan. As Lola learns more about her Island, the illustrations cleverly incorporate a plethora of tropical plants and color, bringing to life both Lola's neighborhood and La Isla. Lola, a Spanish language edition, is ably translated by Mlawer and publishes simultaneously. VERDICT A sensitive and beautiful story of culture, identity, and belonging-a superb picture book outing for Díaz and one to be shared broadly in a variety of settings.-Lucia Acosta, Children's Literature Specialist, Princeton, NJ © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780735229860 Spanish-language edition translated by Teresa Mlawer. In an unnamed U.S. city, Lola is given homework to draw "the country you are originally from," which Lola doesn't remember. The elderly apartment-building superintendent finally tells her "a monster"--a stand in for political destabilization--"fell upon our poor Island"; Lola's concluding drawing shows her homeland (likely the Dominican Republic) in its complexity. A welcome community and immigration story with vibrant illustrations of city and island life. Also available in Spanish. (c) Copyright 2018. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780735229860 *Starred Review* Lola attends a school in which the majority of students, whose skin tones range from tan to deep brown, are from somewhere else. When the teacher instructs her class to draw a picture of what each child's original country looks like, the young girl is stymied. She was an infant when her family immigrated to the U.S. and has no memories of her birthplace. As Lola and her cousin walk home through their neighborhood, they discover that almost everyone is happy to share their memories of the Island. The beaches, the music, the fruits, and the colors come alive for the youngster and create a feeling of pride in her heritage. Along with all the happy memories are remembrances of struggles after a hurricane and a defeated monster, which adults may recognize as a former dictator. The exuberant, brightly colored illustrations are filled with a child's interpretation of the memories and fill the double-page spreads with details to pore over. This important title will be enjoyed by young children and may spark many significant discussions.--Owen, Maryann Copyright 2018 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780735229860 From its very first sentence, this first picture book from Díaz (The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao) is both beautifully nuanced and instantly comprehensible: "Every kid in Lola's school was from somewhere else." Lola is from a place that she calls the Island, which adult readers will recognize as the author's native Dominican Republic, but she left as a baby. When her teacher asks everyone to draw a picture of "the country you were originally from, your first country," Lola, who doesn't remember the Island herself, embarks on a quest through her tight-knit city neighborhood to collect memories. Many recall the Island with fondness: nonstop music, mangoes so sweet "they make you want to cry," colors of every kind. "Even the people are like a rainbow," says one. But Lola also hears stories of fear, hardship, and sadness; the super in her building recalls a reign of terror by what he calls "the Monster" (dictator Rafael Trujillo) and the courage it took to resist. As the story moves between past and present, the Island and "the North," and the microworlds of classroom, streets, and home, the sweep of experience and emotion becomes unmistakably novelistic. Reminiscence, reality, and Lola's imagination similarly merge in Espinosa's effervescent, mural-like drawings (which eventually become the work Lola presents to her class): bats soar through the air on blanket wings, and a barbershop customer tears up while clutching a translucent mango. With his tenacious, curious heroine and a voice that's chatty, passionate, wise, and loving, Díaz entices readers to think about a fundamental human question: what does it mean to belong? Lola realizes it means both being cherished by those around her and taking ownership of their collective memory. "Even if I'd never set foot on the Island," she tells the class, "it doesn't matter: The Island is me." Ages 5-8. Agent: Nicole Aragi, Aragi Inc. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A young girl's homework assignment unravels the history and beauty of her homeland.Lola and her classmates are assigned to draw pictures of their respective origin countries. With excitement, the others begin sharing what they will draw: pyramids, a long canal, a mongoose. Lola, concerned, doesn't remember what life was like on the Island, and so she recruits her whole neighborhood. There is Leticia, her cousin; Mrs. Bernard, who sells the crispy empanadas; Leticia's brother Jhonathan, a barber; her mother; her abuela; and their gruff building superintendent. With every description, Lola learns something new: about the Island's large bats, mangoes, colorful people, music and dancing everywhere, the beaches and sea life, and devastating hurricanes. Espinosa's fine, vibrant illustrations dress the story in colorful cacophony and play with texture (hair especially) as Lola conjures images of her homeland. While the story does not identify the Island by name, readers familiar with Daz's repertoire will instantly identify it as the Dominican Republic, a conclusion that's supported when the super recalls the Monster (Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo), and sharp-eyed readers should look at the magnets on Lola's refrigerator. Lola, Teresa Mlawer's translation, is just as poignant as the original.Together, Daz and Espinosa present an imaginative, purposeful narrative about identity and belonging. (Picture book. 5-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
Jerome By Heart
Book Jacket   Thomas Scotto
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Two little boys share an intense friendship.Narrator Raphael "loves Jerome"saying it is "easy." Raphael doesn't understand why his mother dismisses Jerome as "charming" or why his father says "it's a pity' that Jerome doesn't play soccer." Jerome "always sees" Raphael, shares snacks, defends Raphael against bullies, and tells great stories. Spending a day with Jerome is pure nourishment for Raphael: "By lunch, we've laughed so hard our stomachs hurt. And by dinner, I've stocked up enough of Jerome to last me the whole night." Tallec's loose line-and-watercolor paintings use gentle humor to introduce them, placing the two boys on bikes, side by side and hand in hand, in front of a line of clearly slowly moving cars: So happy are they that they do not notice. He situates the two boys in scenes suffused in warm colors, their body language mirroring each other's, as do their pale skin and round, red heads. But when Raphael's parents get uptight about this bond, the palette darkens to cold, lonely blues. The text is open enough that readers will take what they need from the story. Some children will see simply two very good friends, while others will see validation of feelings they may not know how to express, particularly if their parents are as hostile as Raphael's. Raphael gives them the language they need: "I sayyes. Raphael loves Jerome. I say it. It's easy."Subtle, joyous, affirming. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781592702503 Raphael, the young narrator of this groundbreaking picture book, loves his friend Jerome. "It doesn't bother me at all," the boy explains. "Raphael loves Jerome. I can say it. It's easy." Jerome is caring, generous, funny, and always ready for adventure. Most important, he reciprocates Raphael's affection ("He always holds my hand. It's true. Really tight"), even though there are intimations that Jerome is more socially adept: "Jerome always sees me, even when he's with friends.... He defends me when kids make fun of me. Incredible, right?" Although Raphael's parents never put a label on it, their son's intense affection for his friend and his unfiltered expression of it clearly bother them; Dad seethes, his voice "like sharp fish bones in my hot chocolate." But the bond between the boys is unbreakable, and as the book closes, they blithely walk across the street together, holding hands. The story invites conversation among readers of all ages, and the sensitivity of the minimalist text (despite a few overwrought moments) and poignancy of Tallec's radiant, gentle art are undeniable. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781592702503 Little Raphael loves his best friend Jerome, who holds his hand, always chooses him as his buddy on field trips, shares his snacks, defends him when kids make fun of him, and makes up the best stories. Raphael loves Jerome, the boy muses, adding, I can say it. It's easy. Unfortunately it's not so easy for Raphael's father, who thinks it's a pity that Jerome doesn't play soccer, grouching Now that's enough when his son talks too enthusiastically about his best friend. It's not like Jerome is a bad word, Raphael thinks defiantly, determining he will find a present for Jerome, something strong as a fortress that will last forever. After all, Raphael loves Jerome. I can say it. It's easy. Originally published in France, this gentle, sweet-spirited story is a testament to the power of childhood friendship and the timeless power of love. The softly colored cartoonlike illustrations by Tallec perfectly capture the mood and spirit of the text, deftly translated by Bedrick and Snelson. The result is a book to treasure.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2018 Booklist
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781592702503 In a bittersweet story of a tender bond between narrator Raphael and his friend Jerome, the opening illustration shows the boys riding bicycles hand-in-hand. Their obliviousness to the traffic jam behind them creates humor but also anticipates their need to ignore others' judgment. Raphael's righteous anger at his parents' disapproval fuels his resolve in the poignant (and satisfying) conclusion to remain loyal to Jerome and to his own heart. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
Julian Is a Mermaid
Book Jacket   Jessica Love
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780763690458 After seeing three magnificent-looking people dressed as mermaids, Julian creates a makeshift mermaid outfit. Abuela discovers her grandson's attire; how will she react? She helps Julian complete the outfit, then proudly takes him to a festive sea-creature-attire parade. Small but important details add depth to Julian's emotional journey. Vibrant watercolors with gouache and ink create lively scenes that splash and swirl on the page. (c) Copyright 2018. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Julin knows he's a mermaid.On the el with his abuela, Afro-Latinx Julin looks on, entranced, as three mermaids enter their car. Instantly enamored, Julin imagines himself a mermaid. In a sequence of wordless double-page spreads, the watercolor, gouache, and ink artperfect for this watercentric taledepicts adorable Julin's progression from human to mermaid: reading his book on the el with water rushing in, then swimming in that water and freeing himself from the constraints of human clothing as his hair grows longer (never losing its texture). When Julin discovers he has a mermaid tail, his charming expressions make his surprise and delight palpable. At home, Julin tells Abuela that he, too, is a mermaid; Abuela admonishes him to "be good" while she takes a bath. A loose interpretation of being "good" could include what happens next as Julin decides to act out his "good idea": He sheds his clothes (all except undies), ties fern fronds and flowers to his headband, puts on lipstick, and fashions gauzy, flowing curtains into a mermaid tail. When Abuela emerges with a disapproving look, readers may think Julin is in troublebut a twist allows for a story of recognition and approval of his gender nonconformity. Refreshingly, Spanish words aren't italicized.Though it could easily feel preachy, this charmingly subversive tale instead offers a simple yet powerful story of the importance of being seen and affirmed. (Picture book. 3-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780763690458 On the subway with his abuela after swim class, Julián is enchanted by a group of stylish women in mermaid costumes on their way to a parade. Once home, while his abuela is in the shower, Julián improvises a mermaid costume for himself out of curtains, a potted plant, and a vase of flowers. When Abuela sees the tiny havoc he wreaked in her living room, she doesn't scold him; rather, she embraces his enthusiasm, gives him the finishing touch for his costume, and takes him to the parade. Love's painted scenes glow against muted backgrounds, with saturated, opaque tones tracing the graceful shapes of the figures. They're especially striking when Julián gets swept away in a vivid underwater fantasy: a school of sea creatures whirls around him as he transforms into a mermaid. That scene is nicely replicated when he arrives at the parade, which is populated by scores of people in a wide variety of inventive costumes. The affectionate depiction of a broad range of body types and skin tones makes this particularly cheery.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2018 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780763690458 Riding home on the subway, Julián is transfixed by three mermaids-voluptuous and self-possessed, with flowing tresses of black, pink, and red, and wearing aqua fishtail costumes (the book is printed on a Kraft-like paper, so the colors seem to literally glow). "Julián loves mermaids," writes debut author-illustrator Love, and her protagonist falls into a reverie: he's under the sea, and amid a dazzling school of fish, he sprouts a radiant orange fishtail and waist-length curly hair. While Abuela takes a bath, Julián takes matters into his own hands. He strips down to his underpants, paints his lips purple, fashions a fishtail costume from curtains, and creates a headdress from ferns and flowers. He is, in a word, fabulous. Love lets an anxious beat pass before Abuela takes Julián by the hand, leading him to what some readers may recognize as the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. "Like you, mijo," says Abuela. "Let's join them." Love's deep empathy for her characters and her keen-eyed observations of urban life come together in a story of love, understanding, and embracing the mermaid within us all. Ages 4-8. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780763690458 PreS-Gr 2-Young Julian lives with his abuela and is obsessed with mermaids. He imagines taking off his clothes, growing a tail, and swimming freely through the blue-tinted water with swirls of fish and stingrays. After spying some women on a train dressed as mermaids, Julian later tells his abuela, "I am also a mermaid," then proceeds to wrap a curtain around his waist as a "tail." Ferns in his hair complete the fantastical look, and when his grandmother catches him -is he in trouble? Not at all! In fact, she takes Julian to a festival where people are dressed as fantastically as Julian. Love couples the spare narrative with vivid, imaginative, and breathtaking illustrations. VERDICT A heartwarming must-have for one-on-one and small group sharing.-Amanda C. Buschmann, Carroll Elementary School, Houston © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
King and Kayla and the Case of the Lost Tooth
 Dori Hillestad Butler
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781561458806 In Kayla and dog King's fourth beginner chapter book, Kayla loses her tooth at school and brings it home in her class's special tooth fairy pillow pouch. When Kayla discovers the tooth is missing, she and her friend try to solve the mystery. Narrator King's perspective makes an otherwise straightforward story much more engaging, while humorous illustrations reinforce the plot and further forefront King's doggie thoughts. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. King and Kayla, the detective duo, are back to solve the mystery of Kayla's missing tooth.King, the happy and hilarious golden retriever narrator, anxiously awaits the return of his human, Kayla, who's been at school for "eleventy seven hours. Maybe even eleventy seven days." When Kayla finally arrives home, she has big news: She's lost a tooth! Kayla is excited to use her class's tooth-fairy pillow that night, but, alas, her tooth is missing! Though King discovers the pillow smells like turkey sandwiches (his favorite food), just like Kayla's teeth, her tooth is nowhere to be found. The pair checks the car, the last place Kayla saw the tooth, and King finds lots of crumbs (more of his favorite foods) but no tooth. And so it goes, and Kayla must go to bed with an empty pillow. In the morning, Kayla finds a dollar, a dog treat, and a note from the tooth fairy even though her tooth wasn't there. But when King notices the pillow still smells like turkey sandwiches, he's found the final clue. Each page includes illustrations that are often humorous and highlight the affection between King and Kayla, who is depicted with brown skin and Afro-textured hair.This funny, endearing addition to the series will delight early readers, especially dog lovers. (Early reader. 6-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
Lenas Shoes Are Nervous
 Keith Calabrese
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781534408944 PreS-K-This clever story confronts kindergarten jitters in a unique way. Lena has her clothes ready for her first day, but her shoes are nervous. She finds her dad, and together they decide that her headband should convince the shoes. The headband reminds the shoes about other moments of bravery, and Lena's threat to wear her slippers tips the balance. They hesitate at the playground, "...but not for long." The brief, humorous text includes clever dialogue between Lena and her supportive father throughout. By casting the shoes as the nervous ones, Calabrese allows Lena to embrace her excitement, yet confront her concerns about the new experience. Her father encourages her to solve her own problem, empowering Lena while acknowledging her fears. Medina's digitally rendered, childlike illustrations fit the story perfectly. The cover's close-up image of Lena's shoes crossed over each other do, indeed, look nervous. Several of the spreads have the backgrounds drawn in black lines on white, with the only color being Lena, her dad, and the clothing itself, drawing the eyes to the central conflict. VERDICT This innovative first day of school story will be a welcome addition to libraries everywhere.-Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Lena projects her nervousness about the first day of school onto her shoes, but how does one reach dtente with footwear?Lena is very excited for school. So is her dress, which is "very outgoing." But those shoes are quaking in their, um, shoes. Lena's dad suggests talking to them, but Lena is very matter-of-fact: They're shoes. Duh! But her other clothes can talk to her footwear. Lena puts her headband next to her shoes and listens as the shoes express their fear: School is "big and loud and different." The headband reminds the shoes of similar situations that they got through by being brave together, vignettes showing a doctor visit, a scary movie, and a big dog. The shoes are still unsure, so Lena announces she'll wear her slippers. That does it. The final spread shows all the schoolchildren from the waist down, their shoes the focus. The seemingly digital illustrations use flat, solid colors in bright hues against brilliant backgrounds, several pages just black and white outlines with a few items picked out in vivid color for effect. Beige-skinned Lena's dad's skin is several shades darker than her own, and he has puffy brown hair. Her classmates are diverse and include a girl in hijab and a child in a wheelchair. The reminder of other tough situations survived may not be enough to calm readers' own fears, however, despite the appealing whimsy of the device.A novel though probably not universal look at first-day jitters. (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781534408944 Lena is pumped to start kindergarten, but she may have to call the whole thing off. As she explains to Dad, her shoes, which are essential to her first day ensemble, are having serious second thoughts. While Dad waits patiently, Lena enlists her headband, who is "friends with everybody," to listen to the shoes' fears ("School is big and loud and different and they'd really rather not go") and remind them of "other times they were all scared but decided to be brave, together," such as getting vaccinated and an encounter with a big dog. Lena throws in some reverse psychology-"Looks like I'll have to wear my slippers," she tells her shoes, and it's off to school for everyone. Medina (ABC Pasta) employs digital cartooning, a mix of fluid ink lines and flat, bright colors, to supply a steady flow of visual energy. Making his debut, talent-to-watch Calabrese brings flawless comic timing and a fresh twist to the back-to-school theme. Ages 4-8. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781534408944 Lena isn't nervous to start kindergarten...but her shoes are. Lena enlists her headband (who is "a good listener") to talk to them, and, with fears assuaged and a bit of reverse psychology, Lena and her outfit make it to the first day. Child-friendly digital illustrations depict the shaking shoes; the happy results of previous times Lena was brave; and, finally, everyone's shoes mingling happily on the playground. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
Let the Children March.
Book Jacket   Monica Clark-Robinson
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780544704527 Clark-Robinson's stirring debut unfolds through the resolute voice of a (fictional) African-American girl participating in the 1963 Children's Crusade, during which young residents of Birmingham, Ala., marched to protest segregation. "Dr. King told us the time had come to march," the girl explains. Her parents can't risk losing their jobs, so she, her brother, and thousands of their peers volunteer to serve as "Dr. King's army" ("This burden, this time, did not have to be theirs to bear"). Morrison's dynamic oil paintings viscerally expose the protesters' courage and fear, as well as the anger of white onlookers and police who sic dogs on the marchers and blast them with hoses before locking many in jail. The children's refrains ("Singing the songs of freedom, one thousand strong we came") are displayed like banners across the pages, emphasizing collective strength in the face of brutal violence. The narrator's conclusion, "Our march made the difference," serves as a powerful reminder for today's readers about their own ability to fight for justice and equality. Ages 6-9. Author's agent: Natalie Lakosil, Bradford Literary. Illustrator's agent: Lori Nowicki, Painted Words. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780544704527 Nearly 55 years ago, an antisegregation march that came to be known as the Children's Crusade was instrumental in pushing President Kennedy and Congress to adopt the Voting Rights Act. That historic event is chronicled here in a semifictional narrative from the perspective of one of the young participants in Birmingham in 1963. Bolstered by Dr. King's assurances, the children endure snarling dogs, water hoses, and jail, emerging exhausted but undefeated. Morrison's lush oil paintings illustrate Clark-Robinson's terse descriptions, bringing to life the determination of the marchers, the brutality of the police, and the stifling heat of the packed jail cells without sugarcoating the reality. This remarkable story remains relevant today as young readers think about their roles in the ongoing struggle for justice. Teachers who use this book might scaffold it with additional resources that teach about the intensive planning and organization that went into this and other activist campaigns.--Chaudhri, Amina Copyright 2017 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780544704527 K-Gr 3-The youth of the Birmingham civil rights movement take center stage in this historical picture book. Clark-Robinson narrates from the voice of an unnamed girl, using simple language to tell the story of the momentous events surrounding the arrest and jailing of hundreds of children protesting racial segregation. The narrator states bluntly, "There were so many things I couldn't do." Much of the text will provoke questions and important conversations between children and adult readers. The experiences of segregation are sensitively depicted by Morrison. A playground behind a tall sharp fence sets the stage, while portrait-quality oil paintings of the children and civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. fill the rest of the pages. The defiance, determination, and passion comes through clearly on the faces of the figures. An afterword and author's and illustrator's notes provide additional information, as does a cleverly illustrated time line on the endpapers. VERDICT A highly readable historical account which deserves a place on picture book and nonfiction shelves alike.-Clara Hendricks, Cambridge Public Library, MA © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A vibrantly illustrated account of the Birmingham Children's Crusade through the eyes of a young girl who volunteers to participate.Morrison's signature style depicts each black child throughout the book as a distinct individual; on the endpapers, children hold signs that collectively create a "Civil Rights and the Children's Crusade" timeline, placing the events of the book in the context of the greater movement. When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. comes to speak at her church, a girl and her brother volunteer to march in their parents' stead. The narrative succinctly explains why the Children's Crusade was a necessary logistical move, one that children and parents made with careful consideration and despite fear. Lines of text ("Let the children march. / They will lead the way // The path may be long and / troubled, but I'm gonna walk on!") are placed within the illustrations in bold swoops for emphasis. Morrison's powerful use of perspective makes his beautiful oil paintings even more dynamic and conveys the intensity of the situations depicted, including the children's being arrested, hosed, and jailed. The child crusaders, regardless of how badly they're treated, never lose their dignity, which the art conveys flawlessly. While the children win the day, such details as the Confederate flag subtly connect the struggle to the current day. A powerful retrospective glimpse at a key event. (timeline, afterword, artist's statement, quote sources, bibliography) (Picture book. 5-9) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780544704527 In a picture book based on the 1963 Children's Crusade in racially charged Birmingham, Alabama, an unnamed young African American girl narrates her experiences. She marches in the nonviolent protests against segregation, witnesses her fellow marchers being attacked by dogs, and is jailed. A strong, poetic text is accompanied by remarkable oil paintings that capture the emotions on the faces of protesters and counter-protesters alike. Timeline. Bib. (c) Copyright 2018. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
Mommys Khimar.
Book Jacket   Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. From a debut author-and-illustrator team comes a glimpse into a young American Muslim girl's family and community as she walks around in "Mommy's khimar," or headscarf.The star of this sunny picture book is a young girl who finds joy in wearing her mother's khimar, imagining it transforms her into a queen, a star, a mama bird, a superhero. At the core of the story is the love between the girl and her mother. The family appears to be African-American, with brown skin and textured hair. The girl's braids and twists "form a bumpy crown" under the khimar, which smells of coconut oil and cocoa butter. Adults in her life delight in her appearance in the bright yellow khimar, including her Arabic teacher at the mosque, who calls it a "hijab," and her grandmother, who visits after Sunday service and calls out "Sweet Jesus!" as she scoops her granddaughter into her arms. Her grandmother is, apparently, a Christian, but "We are a family and we love each other just the same." The illustrations feature soft pastel colors with dynamic lines and gently patterned backgrounds that complement the story's joyful tone. The words are often lyrical, and the story artfully includes many cultural details that will delight readers who share the cheerful protagonist's culture and enlighten readers who don't. With a universal message of love and community, this book offers a beautiful representation of a too-often-overlooked cultural group. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781534400597 PreS-K-A young child is enchanted by her mother's many colorful khimars. She uses them to play dress-up, imagining herself as a queen, a mama bird covering her baby brother in his nest, or a superhero in a cape. The girl can inhale her mother's scent and comfort herself even if her mother is not near. She is even allowed to wear one of the khimars to the mosque where she is lovingly admired by a crowd of older women ("'Assalamu alaikum, Little Sis!'"). Her non-Muslim grandmother also makes an appearance and readers are told, "She doesn't go to the mosque like Mommy and Daddy do. We are a family and we love each other just the same." The child-narrator speaks in simple, clear sentences describing a supportive and loving family and community. However, Glenn's soft-colored, flat illustrations miss an opportunity to add visual depth and texture to the book. They serve their purpose, but don't enrich it. VERDICT A sweet addition to picture book collections.-Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Library, NY © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781534400597 Mommy, an African-American Muslim woman, has a closet full of the beautiful flowing headscarves called khimars (another character refers to them as hijabs later in the story). Her imaginative daughter's favorite khimar is bright yellow, and readers follow along as the young narrator wears it in daylong dress-up play. Enveloped in the scents of coconut oil, cocoa butter, and cinnamon that linger in the khimar, the girl feels protected, loved, and bigger than life. At her mosque, she is welcomed into the world of pious women, as her mother's friends greet her with, "Assalamu alaikum, Little Sis!" The yellow khimar is also emblematic of the unconditional love within the girl's extended family: when her grandmother stops by after church ("She doesn't go to the mosque like Mommy and Daddy do"), she greets the girl with a bright smile and open arms, calling her "Sunshine." Debut author Thompkins-Bigelow's lyrical text and Glenn's lighthearted Disney-style pictures are similarly sunny. Rather than offer an exegesis of the khimar or a plea for acceptance and understanding, they allow their heroine's carefree confidence to speak for itself. Ages 4-8. Illustrator's agency: Bright Group. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781534400597 In this ebullient picture book, readers come to share in the delight a little girl takes in wearing her mother's khimar another term for hijab. For the girl, her mother's rainbow collection of beautiful khimars is a source of wonder, power, and intimacy, much like any mother's closet of pretty things might be for a young child. Her favorite one is yellow, and she wears it like a superhero wears her cape, imagining herself shining like the sun and shooting through the sky like a star. She recognizes her mother's fragrances coconut oil and cocoa butter which ensure the security of her mother's presence even in her absence. This affirming book will be a welcome mirror for Muslim and interfaith families, and a necessary counter to Islamophobic discourse. The illustrations are as lively and brightly colored as the khimars themselves, and smiling faces of friends and family members echo the warm message of the text.--Chaudhri, Amina Copyright 2018 Booklist
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781534400597 A young girl admires her mother and the bright khimars she uses to cover her head in observance of her Muslim faith. As she plays dress-up with her mother's yellow khimar, cheerful illustrations show the girl's imaginative play ("I am a superhero in a cape") and love for her family. A sweet family story with an affirming depiction of a black Muslim family in a supportive multicultural community. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
My Beijing: Four Stories of Everyday Wonder.
 Nie Jun
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781512445909 *Starred Review* When young Yu'er laments, People think I'm different, her grandfather's immediate response, Oh, who cares what they think! sets her free to be just that and more. She's different because she's physically challenged, but Grampa ensures her mobility via push cart, wooden chair on wheels, or even his back. Buoyed by Grampa's playfully devoted support, Yu'er's adventures are magically empowering. Four such endeavors are included here: swimming without water in hopeful preparation for the Special Olympics in Yu'er's Dream, visiting Bug Paradise with a protective new friend, sending The Letter from the present to the past, and nurturing artistic expression with the neighborhood grouch in Kids at Heart. Yu'er and Grampa make ideal guides to their Beijing hutong, a traditional neighborhood of courtyard houses and alleyways. Gauvin's buoyantly translated speech bubbles exude youthful excitement and energy, and the occasional asterisks lead to explanations of, for instance, how Yu'er's name translates to fish girl and the literary significance of the Ming Dynasty classic, Journey to the West. Presented in sumptuous full color, Jun's exquisite graphics from perfect realism (a cancelled stamp) to comical specificity (Grampa's exaggerated backside) to the natural simplicity of Yu'er's own drawings offer nonstop merriment and whimsical delight.--Terry Hong Copyright 2018 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781512445909 Gr 2-4-Four slice-of-life stories about a young girl and her grandfather in a hutong neighborhood of Beijing make up this quiet graphic novel. In the first, Yu'er, who has limited use of one of her legs, dreams of swimming in the Special Olympics, but none of the pools will let her in to train, so her grandfather devises a way to swim without water. The middle two tales are steeped in magical realism. In one, Yu'er meets a boy who protects her from bullies and takes her to a one-of-a-kind concert. In the other, hearing about her grandparents' courtship leads Yu'er to write a magical letter. In the final entry, Yu'er studies painting with a grumpy neighbor who laments his inability to act on his dreams when he was younger. Delicate full-color watercolors add to the gentle, dreamy atmosphere of the neighborhood as Yu'er, her friends, and readers discover the simple magic and wonder in everyday life. The translation occasionally hits an odd note but does not distract from the warm tone. VERDICT Recommended for most graphic novel collections.-Jennifer Rothschild, Arlington County Public Libraries, VA © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A young Chinese girl and her grandpa navigate life's challenges and joys in a small neighborhood of Beijing.In this graphic-short story collection, the author introduces readers to Yu'er, a girl with an unspecified physical disability that limits her mobility, and her loving grandfather. The first story opens with her dream of becoming a champion swimmer and a belief strong enough to carry her above her naysayers. From there, readers meet a boy who helps her fight off bullies, encounter the fantastical properties of an old mailbox, and finish by witnessing Yu'er's reconciliation with a grumpy neighbor. Whimsical and sweet, this will remind readers of animated movies such as My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service. With no fancy fight scenes or action shots, this is a slow and quiet delivery presented in a bright and warm palette of watercolors. Scenes depicted are plangent and sweet evocations of childhood, as in the "Bug Paradise" retreat Yu'er's new friend shares with her and the story her retired-letter-carrier grandpa tells her via his stamp collection. The few cultural and translation footnotes help readers who may be confused by or unfamiliar with certain Chinese terminology or history.Featuring family and friendships, this title is recommended for curious young readers looking for some magic in the everyday. (sketchbook, author's note) (Graphic fiction. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781512445909 Jun's graphic novel for young readers begins with Yu'er, a Chinese girl who dreams of swimming in the Special Olympics. When her swim-class application is rejected because of her disability, Grampa has an ingenious solution. Heartwarming relationships, moments of levity, and magical elements also mark the remaining three vignettes. The earth-toned watercolor illustrations seem quiet at first glance, but dynamic perspectives and compositions provide lively energy. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
Night Job
 Karen Hesse
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780763662387 PreS-Gr 2-It's sunset on a Friday night, and a child narrator and his father head out on a motorcycle through the darkening city streets toward a school. Inhaling the scent of lilacs as they enter the school lot, the narrator poignantly explains, "We pull into our space./Dad hauls out a ring of keys/as big as the rising moon./He opens the door,/and the building sighs./Come, it whispers to us." The boy's father is the school's custodian, and, together, the father and son work their way from room to room in the half-light of gym, the cafeteria, the hallways, and the library. Hesse captures a hushed, childlike wonder at a boy's father's evening custodial job, while Karas's quiet, powerful illustrations command a palette of grays and play with illumination to emphasize the details: an orange basketball, the green library sofa, or the brightness of the dream ocean in the book's last spread. VERDICT Simultaneously muted but alive with detail, this title offers an extraordinary glimpse into an endearing father-son relationship, a livelihood, and an ordinary life. Recommended for all picture book shelves.-Brianne Colombo, Fairfield Free Public Library, NJ © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780763662387 *Starred Review* A young boy relates his experiences accompanying his father, a school custodian, to work in this eloquent, lovely picture book. Atop a motorcycle, the two (wearing helmets) set off over the darkening bay, riding the dusky highway. Once there, the boy joins his father, from the gym ( I shoot baskets in the half-light, the ball's bounce mingling with the shoosh of Dad's broom ) to the cafeteria to the library, where the boy shares a book and then naps while his father finishes up. Eventually, they head home at sunrise, where sleep and dreams await. In lyrical language, Hesse vividly describes the details of what the father's job entails, all the while conveying the joy of spending time together, from helping clean We tack back and forth down the hallway, sweeping the school from stem to stern to taking a break in the courtyard and eating homemade sandwiches. It's clear from the pictures that the boy and his father aren't wealthy, but the matter-of-fact story instead focuses on adventuresome details of the work, from the motorcycle ride to the revered ring of keys to the baseball game on the radio. Karas' charming, fine-lined artwork, in panels and full-page spreads, uses a soft, muted palette as well as careful shadows and light to highlight both their nighttime routine and the sweet affection of a special father-son relationship. Quiet, warmhearted, and endearing.--Shelle Rosenfeld Copyright 2018 Booklist
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780763662387 On Friday nights, a young boy accompanies his father to his job cleaning a school. While the book quietly highlights their loving bond, it is loud in its admirable message that not everyone's job or home life is the same. The poetic text combines with the mixed-media illustrations' inspired use of light throughout to create a dreamy atmosphere. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A little boy accompanies his single-parent father to his evening job as the custodian at a large middle school in this serene, evocative story.The unnamed boy narrates the story in present tense as the pair ride together on the dad's motorcycle over a bridge and past a bay to the empty school. At first the boy shoots baskets as his dad mops the floor of the gym, but later the child works alongside his father as they listen to a baseball game on the radio. They eat sandwiches in a courtyard together, and then the boy reads and naps on a couch in the library while his father continues cleaning. By daybreak they are back home, falling asleep snuggled up in a cozy recliner, both dreaming of riding the motorcycle together over the water of the bay. This little boy is only 5 or 6, but he's a real help to his dad in packing up their lunch, assisting with his duties, and cleaning out their lunchbox when they return home. Hesse's poetic, calm text is matter-of-fact in conveying the love between parent and child and the bonding occurring through their shared work. Karas' mixed-media illustrations, employing a soft focus and a muted, nighttime palette, help to relay this bond as well as the excitement of riding on the back of a motorcycle at night. Father and son both present white, and both wear helmets.An endearing story conveying a satisfying sense of a job well done. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
A Parade of Elephants
Book Jacket   Kevin Henkes
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062668271 PreS-K-Caldecott winner and fan favorite Henkes is back with a delightful new picture book. "Hooray! The elephants are here." A parade of five round elephants. They march and march all day. They march up and down, in and out, over and under, all around town, and they don't stop until the day is through. But before their day is done, they have one last thing to do: they lift their trunks and scatter a blanket of stars across the night sky. The elephants are ready for bed, and so are viewers. Henkes's images are just as integral as the spare text. Done in a light, pastel palette, the five whimsical and expressive elephants speak for themselves as they march from page to page. Repetition of words and phrases in large, bold font make this a wonderful choice for new readers, but the story is simple enough for the younger set. VERDICT A must-purchase for all libraries. Recommended to be shared with a group or read one-on-one at bedtime.-Elizabeth Blake, Brooklyn Public Library © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062668271 Five sturdy elephants are rendered in a pastel color with a thick brown outline: the blue elephant first, then yellow, violet, green, and, finally, a smaller pink one. Bold panel arrangements portray the group steadfastly marching until bedtime. Henkes addresses the concepts of counting, colors, and prepositions while once again displaying his understanding of preschoolers: hungry for new information but also needing a framework of solidity and comfort. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Henkes' latest tale for preschoolers focuses on five elephants whose daylong march provides opportunities for counting and exploring opposites."Look! / Elephants! // One, / two, / three, / four, / five." A clear grid places the corresponding number of elephants to the right of each number. This parade (a collective noun for a group or herd of elephants) travels up and down hills, over a bridge above jumping fish, under palm trees, and in and out of a cave. Thick lines of brown ink contour the simple shapes, and a different pastel color distinguishes each elephant. (The first and largest elephant is blue; the fifth elephant, who marches last, is small and pink.) The pared-down narrative, delivered handsomely on thick, creamy paper in 46-point Futura Medium, is wryly funny: "They march all day. // And when the day is done, / they are done, too." After the elephants yawn and stretch, "they lift their trunks // and they trumpet / scattering stars across the sky." This lovely metaphor is humorously extended visually, as each elephant's trunk seems to spew a burst of five-pointed stars upward. (The little elephant manages five.) Then: "Good night." The elephants lie in a cozy huddle below the stars, signaling bedtime for sleepy kids, too. Brown endpapers bracket the story's simple arc: butterflies and the sun at the start; the moon and stars to end it.A muted palette and uncluttered yet nuanced compositions distinguish yet another winsome title from Henkes. Toddlers and grown-upssnuggle up and enjoy. (Picture book. 3-6) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780062668271 Look! Elephants! With that simple direction, Henkes captures the youngest storytime audience members, focuses their attention, and proceeds to take them on a charm-filled adventure. As just one element of the masterful book design, the first spread includes counting and graphing as it introduces the elephant group. Simple repetitive text describes the elephants' activities, demonstrating a variety of prepositions. All of that marching tires out the elephants, who then stretch and yawn as they prepare to sleep. A play on words leads readers to investigate multiple meanings of parade and trumpet. An unexpected touch of magic at the end brings the tale to a satisfying conclusion. Although the color palette is similar to the one he used in Egg (2017), this time Henkes uses denser, more saturated gouache, perhaps to give the elephants a bit more heft. With little more than well-placed dots and lines, Henkes conveys the elephants' emotions and sense of accomplishment as the day turns to night. Well-executed and appealing, this book is a useful addition to preschool collections. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Henkes is a household name, and that's enough to boost demand for his latest.--Whitehurst, Lucinda Copyright 2010 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780062668271 "Look! Elephants!" Henkes announces. And here they come, five in all: blue, yellow, purple, green, with a little pink one bringing up the rear. These elephants aren't up to any hijinks or even peanut-eating-they do one thing: march. For much of the book, Henkes arranges the elephants' simple shapes (they have few details beyond expressive eyes and a dash of texturing) into lines of action that demonstrate concepts, from counting to spatial ideas (up, down, in, out) and wordplay: "Big and round and round they are. Big and round and round they go." The characters may be single-minded, but there's a sense of energy on every page, leading up to the final spreads, which show the elephants "scattering stars across the sky" via collective bedtime trumpet. With clear, bold type sized for puzzling out letters, this spare offering will appeal to preschoolers who, like the elephants, are settling down into starry sleep. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
The Party and Other Stories
Book Jacket   Sergio Ruzzier
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Irrepressible Chick and his laid-back pal Fox star in three illustrated stories for new readers.Through the use of panels that vary from four to a page to double-page spreads, this lovely early reader has the feel of a graphic novel, allowing its clever stories to move easily across the pages. In the first, title story, Chick invites a bevy of animal friends into Fox's bathroom to swim and play. Then Chick questions Fox's habit of eating vegetables rather than the more common diet of small rodents, frogs, and (gulp) birds in the second, "Good Soup." Finally, in "Sit Still," Fox tolerantly paints his way through an afternoon of what is supposed to be antsy Chick's sitting for a portrait, only to emerge in the end with a landscape. Some of the understated humor may be missed by the youngest readers, but the simple, repeated phrasing and dialogue featured in word balloons will keep them engaged. Interspersed throughout are wordless panels in which the vividly colored, soft-edged pen, ink, and watercolor artwork tells the story. This will have wide natural appeal for readers who know some words by sight and are looking to tackle a few that are a bit more complex ("supposed"; "landscape"; "portrait") and for established fans of Ruzzier's picture books.A fun, simple, yet sophisticated collection about a friendship between two very different characters. (Early reader. 4-7) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781452152882 Ruzzier kicks off a new picture-book series with this charmer, blending graphic-novel and early-reader conventions for young readers not quite ready to tackle chapter books. Adopting an odd-couple formula, the book's three short stories follow practical Fox and unpredictable Chick think Rabbit and Tigger through misunderstandings that challenge their friendship but never derail it. In The Party, Chick asks to use Fox's bathroom but neglects to mention he'd like to use it for a party. Needless to say, Fox isn't pleased. Chick's persistent questioning of Fox's vegetarian preferences comically backfires in Good Soup when he points out that foxes should eat things like moles and little birds. The final story, Sit Still, opens outside with Fox painting the landscape, but the serene scene is once more interrupted by Chick, whose desire to have his portrait painted is pitted against his inability to hold a pose. Painted in candy-hued watercolors with all text rendered in speech balloons or as sound effects, these humorous stories highlight how patience and understanding can make even the most unlikely friendships work.--Smith, Julia Copyright 2018 Booklist
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781452152882 Ruzzier delivers three stories about Fox and Chick in a volume with a picture book's trim size but plenty of graphic-novel elements (simply structured panels, dialogue balloons, sound effects) that are well suited to reading newcomers. Finely etched and textured pen, ink, and watercolor vignettes employ a subdued palette. This new entertaining odd-couple friendship could make a Frog and Toadlike impression on the picture-book and easy-reader worlds. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781452152882 Ruzzier (This Is Not a Picture Book!) kicks off a new comics-style early-chapter series, drawn with panels and dialogue balloons and starring an animal odd couple. Fox is an even-tempered reader, cook, and artist; Chick is a pain in the neck. In the first and funniest chapter, Chick asks Fox if he may use his bathroom, and then proceeds to throw a party in it (the "CRASH! THUD! SPLASH!" tips off Fox). Chapter two gets a little dark as Chick, who initially criticizes the vegetarian Fox for not being "a real fox," suddenly realizes that his soup-making friend is actually doing him a favor by not eating him. Chapter three centers on Chick's inability to sit still for a portrait. The root of their friendship remains an enigma-why does Fox tolerate such an annoying friend? But there's an easygoing, reassuring rhythm to the storytelling, and the simple text and sunny colors should engage nascent readers. Ages 5-8. Agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781452152882 PreS-Gr 2-This easy reader-style picture book is actually three stories in one and stars two lovable and very different best friends. In "The Party," Fox is trying to read while Chick repeatedly interrupts him and requests to use his bathroom, where he proceeds to throw a raucous shindig with some other party animals. In "Good Soup," Fox digs in his garden accompanied by an indignant Chick who reminds Fox at each turn that he is supposed to be a carnivore, not a veggie-lover. In a fun twist, Chick eventually remembers that foxes are also "supposed" to eat little birds, and is glad that his friend breaks the norm. Finally in "Sit Still," Fox is painting a landscape when Chick buzzes by and offers to sit for a portrait. Chick has a long list of needs that prevent him from being able to pose, so Fox happily paints the landscape after all. In each story, Chick is the comic relief to Fox's straight man. Chick takes everything literally, while Fox plays the role of grumpy, but secretly genial, next-door neighbor. Pleasant and cartoonish pastel panels add to this enjoyable read. In the tradition of Frog and Toad and Elephant and Piggie, Fox and Chick will feel right at home in company of these other friendship tales. VERDICT Simple vocabulary, dialogue-only text, and situational comedy make this a winning choice as a confidence booster for children just learning to read. Recommended for picture book collections.-Lauren Younger, formerly at NYPL © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
The Patchwork Bike
 Maxine Beneba Clarke
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A daring girl in a desert village enjoys riding her brother's bike made of recycled materials in this unusual picture book by Clarke and political artist Rudd, an Australian import. A young girl with dark skin, cornrows, and shiny sunglasses, wearing shorts, sneakers, and a T-shirt, introduces readers to "the village where we live inside our mud-for-walls home," her "crazy brothers" who dance atop a police car, and her "fed-up mum," who looks elegant in a white hijab and dress. The narrator shows readers the sand hill and the "big Fiori tree" where they play boisterously. "But the best thing of all in our village is me and my brothers' bike." The bike's pieces are composed of a bucket seat, tin-can handlebars, wood-cut wheels, and other spare parts; the flag is a flour sack, and the bell is Mum's milk pot. The license platea piece of barkhas "BLM" painted on it, a political statement that echoes an earlier image of the narrator's brothers playing atop a junked police car. It's a rugged ride over sand hills and fields and straight through the home (which perhaps explains why Mum is so fed up), and Rudd's urban artwork is a fitting way to show it. Over a cardboard background, streaks of paint define the people, objects, and movements that make up the girl's world. The kids in motion on their bike are rendered in an artful smear that evokes speed. The dark, bright, and desert hues create a blazing-hot world readers can almost step right into.Showcasing the fun to be had in a spare world, this book is just what many of us need right now. (author's note, illustrator's note) (Picture book. 3-9) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781536200317 Under a "stretching-out sky at the edge of the no-go desert," a dark brown child with mirrored sunglasses gives readers a tour of a desert village, from "our mud-for-walls home" to "the sand hill we built to slide down." But the best thing? Soaring out into the sand on the bike the kids have created from cans, discarded wood, and "a bell that used to be Mum's milk pot." In her picture book debut, Clarke's lines sing with sound and rhythm, evoking the "shicketty shake" sound of the bike on sand hills. Street artist Rudd's textured paint-and-cardboard collages create a strong sense of a place (the blaze and shadow of the desert) and the people who live there: the narrator's "fed-up mum" in a hijab and robe, and the "crazy brothers" pictured bouncing on a police car, who write "BLM" on the bike's license plate-a reference to Black Lives Matter, Rudd notes in an afterword. In an author's note, Clarke writes about her experiences with poverty: "What these times taught me was how to make something out of nothing." Without minimizing the clear references to economic and racial struggle, the words and images in this snapshot story pulse with resourceful ingenuity, joyful exuberance, and layered meanings. Ages 6-9. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781536200317 *Starred Review* Kids make their own fun wherever they are, and Clarke's The Patchwork Bike is an ode to this universal truth of childhood. In an unnamed village on the edge of a "no-go desert," a little girl with beautiful cornrows confides in readers about how she and her rowdy brothers spend their time sliding, jumping, and climbing under the "stretching-out sky." But the best thing is their bike, a cobbled-together creation of found parts, like a dented car seat, tin-can handles, and a bark license plate that keeps falling off. Clarke's exuberant poetic text combines simple sentences with evocative onomatopoeia. The shicketty-shakes and winketty-wonks amplify the fun of the language and make the book a joy to read aloud. This is street-artist Rudd's first picture book, and his bold, strong illustrations brilliantly extend the sense of motion, with wide rippling streaks of thick paint flowing across the pages. On recycled cardboard with richly hued acrylics and visible brushstrokes, Rudd's striking illustrations are a joyful celebration of play and children's imaginations overriding poverty or circumstances. Kids will love picking out the familiar objects used in the bike, and parents will sympathize with the "fed-up mum" coping with all that energy. Fascinating notes from the Australian author and illustrator are included.--Lynn Rutan Copyright 2018 Booklist
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781536200317 A child in an unnamed village "where we live inside our mud-for-walls home" describes the diversions of daily life, including zooming about with "my crazy brothers" on a "patchwork bike" built of scrap. Clarke's spare, mellifluous language is hand-lettered on Rudd's rough, tactile paintings composed of heavy acrylic paint on recycled cardboard. The illustration choices reflect the book's theme--exposing the harsh reality of life while acknowledging the resilience that comes from homemade joy. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781536200317 PreS-Gr 2-In this Australian import, three siblings who live in a remote village "at the edge of the no-go desert" in a "mud-for-walls home," make do with what they have to entertain themselves. They like to run, jump, and climb, but their pride and joy is their bike, which they cobbled together out of spare parts and junk. The handlebars are made of branches, and the wood-cut wheels go "winketty wonk" as they ride, a nice onomatopoetic touch. The story by itself is superb, but the artwork elevates it further. Rudd's street art approach is raw yet refined as nearly every brushstroke is visible on the repurposed cardboard backgrounds. Much like Javaka Steptoe's Radiant Child or Jane Yolen's What To Do with a Box, the format shows the incredible creativity of young minds combined with the constraints of poverty. Rudd not only perfectly matches the tone culturally but also works in a few nods to the Black Lives Matter movement, which he explains in his artist's note. VERDICT An excellent story and conversation starter.-Peter Blenski, Greenfield Public Library, WI © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
The Rough Patch
 Brian Lies
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780062671271 The polished, jaunty spreads that open this story by Lies (Gator Dad) give little hint of the deep emotion to come. Evan, a fox, cuts a handsome figure in his overalls and wire-rimmed spectacles, and he and his beloved black-and-white dog are always together. They drive in Evan's red farm truck and play games, "But what they loved the most was working in Evan's magnificent garden," a lush, fertile enclosure studded with neat trellises. Then, two terrible things happen: Evan's dog dies-readers see the fox slumped over the hound's body-and in his grief, Evan destroys his garden, swinging a hoe that fells the plants and snaps the trellises in two. The story of how Evan finds his way through his grief rings true, and Lies's atmospherically lit, exquisitely drafted paintings will absorb readers as they trace Evan's journey through mourning. Some sensitive readers may draw back from tragedy this stark, but others will be fascinated by Evan's mysterious world, in which pumpkins grow into prize-winning behemoths and rubber boots come specially made for fox feet. Ages 4-8. Agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062671271 Evan (an anthropomorphized fox) and his dog enjoy doing everything together, especially working in Evan's garden. Lies's lush acrylic, oil, and colored-pencil illustrations with delicate line work evoke the magnificence of Evan's garden, then his intense sadness and isolation after his beloved dog dies. This tender story of loss, hope, and recovery comes full circle when Evan hesitantly returns to gardening--and gets a new puppy, to boot. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062671271 Gr 2-5-Lies taps into the powerful nature of love, loss, grief, and hope in his latest picture book. Evan, a fox, and his dog are best friends and in a series of acrylic, oil, and colored pencil vignettes, they are shown attending a fair, playing games, and, most important, working in Evan's meticulously groomed garden. These loving scenes are abruptly cut short by a large spread of white space with spare text stating: "But one day, the unthinkable happened." On the opposing page, white space surrounds a grieving Evan as he mourns the loss of his dog. In his grief, Evan destroys the garden that reminds him so much of his friend and weeds grow in its place. When a pumpkin vine sneaks into the garden, Evan allows it to take root and with it, hope returns. With lyrical figurative language, Evan transitions from being devastated by heartache to a being willing to step back into the world again. With his pumpkin, Evan rejoins his friends at the fair. Although it's not the same without his best friend, he enjoys himself again and even wins a prize for his pumpkin. His prize and the hope of all those who suffer love's loss is a chance to love again with a new puppy. While best suited for independent readers or shared moments during a loss, this poignant picture book provides an exquisite depiction of grief and hope. VERDICT A remarkable first selection for all libraries and a helpful guide for children and adults who are going through their own rough patches.-Rachel Zuffa, Racine Public Library, WI © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780062671271 *Starred Review* Farmer Evan, portrayed as a fox in overalls, has a dog. Constant companions, they enjoy playing games, taking hikes, and working in the garden. But after the dog's death, Evan feels that nothing will be quite the same and so hacks his beloved garden to bits. Time passes. Weeds move in, and he lets the itchy, spiky-looking ones stay. He begins to tend a prickly vine, which eventually produces an enormous pumpkin. Feeling an old, familiar sense of excitement, Evan hauls his pumpkin to the local fair, where he enjoys the food, the games, and talking with old friends. His pumpkin wins him a prize: $10 or a puppy. He drives home with a new companion. Spare and beautifully phrased, the story is well told in the text. But Evan's emotions are most vividly conveyed in the artwork, created with acrylics, oils, and colored pencils. In the graveside scene, a shadow literally falls over Evan, while on the facing page, the phrase and nothing was the same appears on a light gray background, encroached by looming, chaotic darkness. Lies' rich colors and expressive use of light are evident throughout this picture book, which acknowledges grief and delivers a hopeful message with subtlety, empathy, and eloquence.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2018 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Nature brings healing and a reawakening of the heart.Evan, a farmer, is a red fox; his best friend and trusty companion is a black mutt. They do everything together, including work in Evan's lush garden. Eventually the dog dies, and Evan is inconsolable. Progressing through the stages of grief, Evan mourns, then feels bitter anger and destroys the garden, hacking it to pieces (presumably not, as some readers may wonder, the corner where he buried his friend). Matching Evan's mood, the formerly beautiful place is now weed-filled and forlorn. A creeping pumpkin vine gradually helps Evan to reassess his thinking. Deciding not to destroy the nascent plant, he cultivates it; his tender horticultural touch allows the pumpkin to develop into a gourd of enormous proportions. Bringing it to the fair, Evan wins third placeand oh, what a prize he chooses, revealed wordlessly on the book's final page! This story is simply and subtly told with admirably genuine emotion, but the textured, strong-hued art is the real standout. Charming images, such as Evan's gardening boots with holes for claws, and heart-wrenching onesnote Evan's bending over the dog's unmoving bodyare to savor. Lies also matches colors and characters' expressiveness to moods and provides white space around numerous vignettes to focus readers' attention. Reassuring and clear, this is a heartfelt story about loss and discovering that one can love again. (Picture book. 4-7) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
Saturday Is Swimming Day
Book Jacket   Hyewon Yum
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780763691172 A little girl awakens on Saturday with a stomachache. Since she has no fever, her mother takes her to her first weekly swimming class. She reluctantly dons her bathing suit, but she won't swim. Instead, she stands poolside and tells Mary, the class instructor, that her stomach hurts. The following Saturday follows the same pattern, but she lets Mary carry her in the water, and she tries to participate. The next week, after practicing at home in the bathtub, the girl begins to relax and join the other kids in trying new skills. Best of all: no stomachache. The child narrates the story in direct, matter-of-fact sentences. Meanwhile, the artwork, created with watercolor and colored pencil, clearly expresses her initial dread, sadness, and sense of isolation from the other children, as well as her happiness when she joins them in the end. While showing children they can overcome their fear of water and learn to swim, this quiet picture book realistically depicts how slow their progress will be, yet how rewarding.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2018 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780763691172 PreS-Gr 2-A young child conquers a fear of swimming in this charming, child-focused picture book. The unnamed first-person narrator, a preschooler with straight black hair and a strawberry-printed swimsuit, wakes up with a stomachache on the first day of swimming lessons. Blonde, curly-haired Mom offers reassurances that it will probably go away at the pool, but meeting the friendly instructor, Mary, and seeing the excitement of the other budding swimmers can't drive away the butterflies. The child dawdles in the dressing room and spends the lesson on dry ground. The next Saturday, the stomachache has returned, but Martha is willing to offer support while the hesitant young protagonist tries "ice cream scoops." Finding the warm water soothing, the positive experience is enough to inspire evening paddling practice at home in the bathtub. Slowly, the child becomes more comfortable in the water (a better-fitting swim cap helps), progressing all the way to floating alone like a starfish and having splashing contests with the other children. Yum's watercolor and colored pencil illustrations perfectly capture a young child's expressions, conveying reluctance and nervousness as much through body position as through the text. The instructor and classmates are portrayed as a diverse group inclusive of ethnicity and body type. VERDICT An empowering story of gradually overcoming fear that will resonate with young children. A great purchase for most collections.-Chelsea Couillard-Smith, Hennepin County Library, MN © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. In this story about new experiences, readers follow a tiny girl who faces her fear of swimming every Saturday. Trying something new can be scary. Saturday mornings seem to start with stomachaches, as a grumpy little Asian girl fakes illness to avoid going to the swimming pool. She clings to her mom and hides in a locker. Her body language clearly shows her to be uncomfortable and tense as she stands against the wall while other children of all shapes and colors dive right in. Things do not look promising. Week by week, without any pressure from her white mom, she returns to the pool and takes tiny steps forward with the black swim instructor named Mary. Mary guides her away from the pool's edge and gently builds on small successes each Saturday. Illustrations, done in watercolor and colored pencil, show the blue waters of the pool framed by the cold white floor tiles. Colorful swimsuits, bathing caps, and skin tones splash the pages. Slowly, the narrator finds her fearful feelings begin to change. As the little girl's courage grows, the floor tiles slowly disappear, and the pictures become all water. The unnamed child narrates, gender indicated by the style of her swimsuit.This tender and accessible story of bravery and patience when facing a new situation encompasses a wide range of emotions for timid children of all shapes and colors. (Picture book. 4-6) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780763691172 At the young Asian girl narrator's first swim lesson, she shrinks from getting into the water, and the teacher doesn't insist. By the third Saturday, she's ready to fully participate. Yum conveys the little girl's reluctance through body language. Watercolor and colored-pencil illustrations show people with a variety of skin tones. There's no preaching or reproach, just adults giving an anxious child time and space to try something new. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
See Pip Flap
Book Jacket   David Milgrim
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781534416369 After watching bird Tweet fly, mouse Pip becomes inspired to try it. Several page-turns (and much fruitless flapping) later, robot friend Otto comes up with a clever remote-control drone solution that allows Pip's dreams to take flight. This latest series entry's extremely limited vocabulary provides effective new-reader support, the comic timing is spot-on in the repetition and pacing, and the clean illustrations are both understated and hilarious. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781534416369 After watching bird Tweet fly, mouse Pip becomes inspired to try it. Several page-turns (and much fruitless flapping) later, robot friend Otto comes up with a clever remote-control drone solution that allows Pip's dreams to take flight. This latest series entry's extremely limited vocabulary provides effective new-reader support, the comic timing is spot-on in the repetition and pacing, and the clean illustrations are both understated and hilarious. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2019 (Younger Readers)
Thank You, Omu!
 Oge Mora
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316431248 The "scrumptious scent" of grandmotherly Omu's thick red stew wafts out her apartment window; a little boy inquires after the delicious smell, followed by a peckish police officer and more until Omu's generosity means that she has no stew left for dinner. But everyone returns, this time to share with Omu. Mixed-media layers give the collage illustrations depth. Mora times her story perfectly, and repetition will encourage group participation. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Omu makes a stew so delicious everyone in the neighborhood follows their noses to her door.Omu (which means "queen" in IgboOmu is black) is making a "thick red stew in a big fat pot" for her dinner. She tastes it, saying it'll be the most delicious supper she's ever had, while out the window drifts the scent of the "scrumptious" stew until it reaches a little boy. The story is peppered with synonyms for "scrumptious" (itself repeated throughout), allowing readers the chance to discuss and expand vocabulary. When the little boy follows the smell to Omu's door, she kindly offers to share her stew with him. So begins a veritable parade of neighborhood residents who, led by the smell, end up at Omu's door. The collage art adds texture, depth, and distinctiveness to each character. Omu shares her thick red stew with all and receives grateful thanks in reply. Alas, when Omu looks for her own supper, she finds her pot empty. The expressive illustrations convey her despondency as she answers yet another knock at her door to findthat the multiracial neighbors she shared with are back! This time, they have gifts in hand and are ready to make her a wonderful supper, which turns into another shared meal and a dance party.A lovely story of giving and community founded in Nigerian culture. Delectable. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780316431248 Omu (pronounced AH-moo, it's Igbo for queen), the matriarch of her city neighborhood, is making "thick red stew in a big fat pot." As the delicious scent-rendered as an undulating strip of paper-wafts through the neighborhood, a little boy drops by, then "Ms. Police Officer," and then a deluge of hungry humans that eventually includes the mayor. Mora, a major new talent making her debut as an author-illustrator, gives her book a rhythmic, refrainlike structure: There's a "KNOCK!" at the door, a moment of thought on Omu's part, the presentation of a bowl, and a hearty "Thank you, Omu!" in brightly colored capital letters. Dinnertime arrives, and a chagrined Omu discovers that she's given all her stew away ("There goes the best dinner I ever had!"). But she isn't sad for long. The stew eaters arrive en masse at her door with a bountiful potluck (the boy proffers a handmade thank-you note), and "together they ate, danced, and celebrated." This sweet story of inclusivity, gratitude, and delicious fellowship is also a feast for the eyes, with its warm colors and inventive mAclange of cut paper and other materials. Ages 4-8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Oct.) c Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316431248 PreS-Gr 2-In her apartment on the top floor, Omu (Igbo for queen) makes a tasty, thick red stew for her dinner. The smell wafts through her community, enticing neighbors to knock at her door to inquire about the delicious smell. A little boy is first, followed by a police officer, the hot dog vendor, and many other neighbors. Omu shares a bit of her stew with each person until she has none left for her dinner. When she hears the next knock, it is the visitors again, but this time with a feast to share with Omu. Even the little boy makes a contribution: a red envelope that conveys everyone's sincere gratitude. The richly textured and expressive collage illustrations were created with patterned paper and old-book clippings using acrylic paint, pastels, and markers. Mora has crafted a memorable tale of community and the unexpected rewards of sharing. VERDICT Children will enjoy this fresh, engaging story of friendship and community building, perfect for any group gathering. -Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at District of Columbia Public Library © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780316431248 Omu (Nigerian for queen, but here grandma) enjoys cooking thick red stews for her evening meal. One day, while her pot simmers, a little boy knocks at her door, enticed by the delicious aroma. Of course Omu shares with him and later with others: a police officer, a hot dog vendor, a shop owner, a cab driver, a doctor, an actor, a lawyer, a dancer, a baker, an artist, a singer, an athlete, a bus driver, a construction worker, and the mayor! Predictably, the pot is empty when suppertime arrives, but Omu's friends give back with a feast that everyone enjoys. Mora's mixed-media collage art makes use of patterned papers and book clippings in addition to paints and pastels. She uses simplified forms to represent people and objects (somewhat reminiscent of Ezra Jack Keats' style), well suited to this cozy, urban setting. Particularly effective is the white trail of steam from Omu's stew that travels through the neighborhood. A great choice for food-themed story hours, or for introducing the concept of sharing.--Kay Weisman Copyright 2018 Booklist
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2019 (Younger Readers)
The Wall in the Middle of the Book
 Jon Agee
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A wall separates the two sides of a book. But what happens when there is danger on the side that's supposed to be "safe?"When a brick falls from the wall, a cheerful, ladder-carrying knight arrives to repair it from the verso side. On the other, recto side of the wall, a small team of angry-looking animalsa rhino, a tiger, and a gorillaarrives to investigate. The brick wall straddles the book's gutter from the ground at the very bottom of the spread and breaks the frame skyward, blocking those on each side from viewing the other. Using first-person narration, the knight tells readers that their side of the book is "safe" and that the other side is not. But, when the illustrations slowly reveal what lurks on the knight's side, the knight's theory doesn't quite hold water. Or does it? Agee's expert interplay between words and pictures invites readers to question the narrator's reliability. Every illustration is a double-page spread (even the unfolded book jacket), and Agee's signature washed-out color palette and expressive cartoon character designs shine. Animal and human characters alike break the fourth wall to communicate with readers through facial expressions, brilliantly accentuating the contradictory word-picture dynamic. The knight presents white.With too much attention toward outward threats, the knight neglects to see those from withina timeless message but also one that, in 2018, will surely strike a chord with many readers. (Picture book. 3-6) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780525555452 A wall (i.e., the book's gutter) separates a knight from an ogre and his jungle-animal companions. Readers' ability to see both sides of the wall simultaneously provides the humor as floodwaters (filled with voracious sea creatures) rise on the oblivious hero, who's eventually rescued by the ogre. Lightly toned watercolor illustrations with plenty of white space keep things upbeat, emphasizing the dramatic and comic possibilities of a pair of eyes. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780525555452 In this sly fable by Agee (Life on Mars), a tall brick wall runs along the book's gutter, and the action takes place on either side. On the verso, a short, perky knight approaches the wall with a ladder. On the recto, a menacing-looking tiger and rhino lurk. "The wall protects this side of the book" the knight explains, "from the other side of the book." The contrast between the knight's cheery, confiding tone and the outsize dangers supply hilarity, and blocky images in faded hues soften potentially scary moments. As the animals flee, the knight's side of the wall starts to fill up with water. "The most dangerous thing on the other side of the book is the ogre," the knight says from his ladder, oblivious to the deepening flood, finger raised in emphasis. Enter the ogre-uh oh. As ever, Agee nails pacing and punch lines, making inventive use of the famous fourth wall as a literary device (and giving the book a new wall altogether). Most satisfying is his gentle reminder that preconceived notions about things and people, over a boundary or otherwise, are often distinctly wrong. Ages 4-8. Agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780525555452 PreS-Gr 3-There's a wall in the middle of this book. And it's a good thing, because it protects one side of the book from the other side. Or, at least that's what the hero of the book, a young knight, thinks. As the knight warns readers about all of the dangers on the other side of the wall-like tigers and mean ogres-he remains oblivious to the rising water and crocodile who are sneaking up behind him on his side of the wall. Before the water engulfs him completely, the knight is rescued by a surprising savior, and he soon learns that things may not be so bad on the other side of the wall after all. The knight's journey reminds readers that instead of building walls, we should be tearing them down in order to understand who or what is on the other side. Agee's simple illustrations combined with his trademark humor and ability to let readers in on a secret that the protagonist knows nothing about, combine to solidify him as a hilarious picture book master. VERDICT A silly read-aloud with an important message. A solid choice for storytime and one-on-one sharing.-Elizabeth Blake, Brooklyn Public Library © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780525555452 *Starred Review* A tall brick wall runs through the gutter of this book. On the left, a narrating knight mounts a ladder to replace a brick. He's convinced the wall is a good thing because it protects his safe side from dangers on the other. Wild animals and a large man (the knight insists he is an ogre) live on the right side of the wall. If the ogre ever caught me, he'd eat me up, states the knight with certitude. What goes unmentioned is the water rising underneath the knight and a lot of predator-prey carnage beneath him. Eventually the knight falls into the water and is rescued by the ogre (who is actually a nice guy), and everyone ends up happily on a final spread that pays homage to Maurice Sendak's wild rumpus. Agee's signature cartoon artwork employs simple shapes, white backgrounds, and muted colors, appropriate to the deadpan delivery of the story. The ogre and animals may look fearsome, but everyone is well-behaved and pleasant. By contrast, bigger creatures keep eating smaller ones (much like in Jon Klassen's Hat trilogy) in the knight's kingdom on the left side of the book. Will the intended audience recognize the xenophobia depicted here? Probably not. But the message that walls don't help us understand our neighbors will stick.--Kay Weisman Copyright 2018 Booklist
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2019 (Younger Readers)
You and Me
Book Jacket   Rebecca Kai Dotlich
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A preschool-age child adjusts to life with a new baby in this emotionally satisfying board book.Cooing comments about the new baby on the left-hand page are paired with somewhat disparaging observations from an older child in italics on the right. The older child matter-of-factly points to actual skills and accomplishments. So what if the baby has soft skin? The older sibling can count to nine! Dotlich's poem was originally published in Climb into My Lap: First Poems to Read Together, edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Kathryn Brown (1998). It's just the right length for a board book, but the storyline is more suitable for a picture-book reader. The older sibling is beyond board-book age, as indicated by the line, "Yesterday I lost two teeth." Young children will also miss the visual humor in Reagan's realistic watercolors. When the child proudly asserts, "I can tie all by myself," those shoes are on the wrong feet. A family read-aloud with both the older sibling and new baby is an ideal setting for this story. The illustrations capture the mood of the poem but may throw readers when they notice that the woman reading with the protagonist in the final picture does not look like the grandmother portrayed five pages earlier. Maybe it's mom?The importance of giving positive attention to the child who may be feeling overshadowed by a new baby cannot be overstressed, and it's nice to have the reminder delivered in such a lovely, sensitive package and featuring a loving, brown-skinned family. (Board book. 6 mos.-5) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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