A gleefully fun take on the loving chaos of family reunions.

Oh no, here they come!

A small brown-skinned child braces as four of their aunts (two are brown-skinned, one presents as Asian, and one is light-skinned) cheerfully burst through the front door. Soon, the child is overwhelmed with hugs, pinched cheeks, the smell of coconut, and rapid-fire questions. To the dismay of the child, the aunts are here, they’re there, they’re everywhere! But as the adventure takes a more fantastical turn, the aunts become fiercely protective, fighting a wolf (“They read an article about this”) before reassuring the child in a loving embrace. Then, just as the child warms up to their presence, they leave in a fashion as dramatic as their entrance. Armed with sun visors, hand sanitizer, and fanny packs, the aunts have undeniable charm—it’s hard to not be swept away by their shenanigans. The pacing and rhythm of the text make it a joy to read aloud, with streams of repeating lines, occasional rhymes (“Fanny packs. A snack. Pack that snack back in the fanny pack”), and varied use of fonts contributing to the hilariously over-the-top energy of the aunts. Cho’s vibrant illustrations and mastery of perspective perfectly capture the eccentricities and exuberance of each aunt, contrasting the child’s concerned expressions to humorous effect. Keen-eyed readers will delight in finding clues in the illustrations that foreshadow what’s to come. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A gleefully fun take on the loving chaos of family reunions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 23, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-79720-794-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2023



Warm but underdone.

In this picture book from actor Gyllenhaal and his partner, Caruso, a child and his uncle bond on a fantastic journey.

Leo, an avid dancer, is dismayed when Uncle Mo visits—he’s in town for a “rubber band convention.” Illustrations show both with wavy brown hair and light tan skin. Not only does Leo think his uncle is rather dull, he’s also leery of Uncle Mo’s many rules. A rather abrupt narrative shift occurs when the pair inexplicably drive into another dimension. Here they encounter Great-Aunt Gloria (who is very tall and presents Black) and Uncle Munkle Carbunkle (who is very short and light-skinned), who guide them through the Secret Society of Aunts & Uncles. Unimpressed with Uncle Mo, Great-Aunt Gloria says he must take a quiz on “Auntieology and Uncleology.” After several wrong answers, Uncle Mo has a final chance at redemption: He must state his nephew’s favorite activity. When Leo springs into action to dance for his clueless uncle, a mishap leaves him mortified and un-bespectacled. Enter Uncle Mo to save the day by using a rubber band to secure Leo’s glasses. While Santat’s energetic illustrations do much to clarify the narrative, they can’t fully make up for the disjointed storytelling—it’s never clear why the two have entered this dimension or why Leo is suddenly so eager to help Uncle Mo. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Warm but underdone. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781250776990

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2023


A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

Close Quickview