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CLARICE BEAN, THINK LIKE AN ELF

A warm and bustling Christmas story: “exceptionordinarily” joyful.

For Clarice and her extended family, the Christmas season brings a busy whirl of preparations, crises, and surprises.

Unchanged in age or temperament since her last outing in 2006’s Clarice Bean, Don’t Look Now, Clarice expresses concerns about keeping up the Christmas spirit while recording such promising signs of the season as the lighting of a special Advent candle in place of the usual calendar with chocolates (which they no longer have due to issues with pilfering). It’s time to compile a list for Santa, make and deliver greeting cards, and learn all the words to “The Twelve Days of Christmas” before the school carol concert. Not to mention making fudge for family presents (how hard can it be?), decorating a tree with minimal breakage of heirloom ornaments, and wondering what happened to the Christmas turkey that somehow is no longer in the fridge. On nearly every page, Child’s effervescent mix of sketches and collages stylishly records highs and low on the way to a satisfying, climactic gathering that includes Clarice’s parents, three sibs, grandpa, uncles, aunt, cousins, and best friend Betty Moody’s family (excepting her brown-skinned aunt and cousins, the cast reads as White). Clarice’s account, typographical flights and all, is printed in red, which does underscore the festive air but carries legibility issues that become acute on occasional pages where the white backgrounds turn brown or green.

A warm and bustling Christmas story: “exceptionordinarily” joyful. (musical score, song list) (Holiday fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5362-2365-1

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 7, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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LITTLE DAYMOND LEARNS TO EARN

It’s hard to argue with success, but guides that actually do the math will be more useful to budding capitalists.

How to raise money for a coveted poster: put your friends to work!

John, founder of the FUBU fashion line and a Shark Tank venture capitalist, offers a self-referential blueprint for financial success. Having only half of the $10 he needs for a Minka J poster, Daymond forks over $1 to buy a plain T-shirt, paints a picture of the pop star on it, sells it for $5, and uses all of his cash to buy nine more shirts. Then he recruits three friends to decorate them with his design and help sell them for an unspecified amount (from a conveniently free and empty street-fair booth) until they’re gone. The enterprising entrepreneur reimburses himself for the shirts and splits the remaining proceeds, which leaves him with enough for that poster as well as a “brand-new business book,” while his friends express other fiscal strategies: saving their share, spending it all on new art supplies, or donating part and buying a (math) book with the rest. (In a closing summation, the author also suggests investing in stocks, bonds, or cryptocurrency.) Though Miles cranks up the visual energy in her sparsely detailed illustrations by incorporating bright colors and lots of greenbacks, the actual advice feels a bit vague. Daymond is Black; most of the cast are people of color. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

It’s hard to argue with success, but guides that actually do the math will be more useful to budding capitalists. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 21, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-56727-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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STELLA DÍAZ HAS SOMETHING TO SAY

From the Stella Díaz series , Vol. 1

A nice and timely depiction of an immigrant child experience.

Speaking up is hard when you’re shy, and it can be even harder if you’ve got two languages in your head.

Third-grader Estrella “Stella” Díaz, is a shy, Mexican-American girl who draws pictures and loves fish, and she lives in Chicago with her mother and older brother, Nick. Jenny, Stella’s best friend, isn’t in her class this year, and Stella feels lonely—especially when she sees that Vietnamese-American Jenny is making new friends. When a new student, Stanley Mason, arrives in her class, Stella introduces herself in Spanish to the white former Texan without realizing it and becomes embarrassed. Surely Stanley won’t want to befriend her after that—but he seems to anyway. Stella often confuses the pronunciation between English and Spanish sounds and takes speech classes. As an immigrant with a green card—a “legal alien,” according to her teacher—Stella feels that she doesn’t fully belong to either American culture or Mexican culture, and this is nicely reflected in her not being fully comfortable in either language, an experience familiar to many immigrant and first-generation children. This early-middle-grade book features italicized Spanish words and phrases with direct translations right after. There is a small subplot about bullying from Stella’s classmate, and readers will cheer as they see how, with the help of her friends and family, Stella overcomes her shyness and gives a presentation on Jacques Cousteau. Dominguez’s friendly black-and-white drawings grace most pages.

A nice and timely depiction of an immigrant child experience. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62672-858-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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