A high-spirited impetus to clap hands—or better yet, someone else’s.

READ REVIEW

HIGH FIVE

The Dragons Love Tacos (2012) crew invites readers to the 75th Annual High Five Tournament.

It’s not going to be a walkover, as opponents in the five rounds range from Gigantic the Bear (“700 Pounds of Hair”) and, after her, dizzying bouncer Kangaroo Paul to the ultimate challenger, eight-limbed Octopus Jones. Fortunately, young contenders have a yetilike ex-champ in their corner to offer vigorous if unevenly rhymed and metered commentary (“Was that your new signature slap? / My grandma fives better than that!”) as well as savvy advice on hand positioning and style points. Accentuated by block letters in diverse hues and the occasional outsized “HIGH FIVE!” Salmieri’s scribbly ink-and–colored-pencil drawings of the all-animal cast, audience, and panel of judges reflect the infectiously rising suspense and wild excitement as the unseen “Kid” the narrator addresses sends each foe in succession reeling away in stunned defeat. Just one thing left to do: “Hold up your trophy / and shout out ‘woo-hoo!’ / The new high five champ is you!” Along with the verbal coaching, a chart of variations on “The Classic,” such as “The Windmill,” “The Double Behind the Back Slam,” and even “The High Foot,” offers further challenges to ambitious fivers of all genders. As characters frequently address “Kid” directly and hold up dramatically foreshortened hands or paws to viewers, caregivers should be ready for this book to take a beating.

A high-spirited impetus to clap hands—or better yet, someone else’s. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 16, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-42889-3

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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A multilayered coming-of-age story filled with exquisitely executed art.

CAMP TIGER

A little boy finds his inner tiger in this lyrical picture-book debut by Choi, an award-winning author for adults.

Narrated in a thoughtful, meandering voice that mimics a long scenic drive into the mountains, a boy, his older brother, and their parents travel to a camping site at Mountain Pond, which is “like a mirror in the trees.” Throughout the trip the boy vocalizes his apprehensions about growing up and becoming a first-grader, saying he “liked kindergarten” and misses “things my mom used to do for me.” Suddenly everyone is struck silent when a tiger approaches from the temperate forest, asking for an extra tent to sleep in. The boy and the tiger quickly connect. Soon the tiger becomes the personification of the growing inner courage of the boy, participating in all the activities. The boy accomplishes new milestones: catching his first fish, steering the canoe well, and striking out on his own. Rocco provides illustrations with a cool color scheme and dramatic details. Elongated sentences demand that readers linger on each page drinking in every detail of the tiger’s striking portraits. There is a slight disconnect in tone between the whimsy of the text and the realism of the illustrations, but it is a small price to pay. The boys appear Asian or biracial Asian/white.

A multilayered coming-of-age story filled with exquisitely executed art. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 21, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-17329-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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A subtle tale, perhaps best read to a thoughtful child in the intimate setting of a winter bedtime.

WINTER MOON SONG

Quiet but joyful, this is an original story based on a traditional theme found in many cultures.

The author’s note mentions that in some Native American cultures, as well as in China, Korea and Japan, the trope of the rabbit in the moon is well-known. Brooks learned about it from a Lakota elder and then spun her own tale. A young rabbit in a northern clime learns the “Winter Moon Song.” On his way home from rehearsal for the annual performance, he stops in the woods and looks up at the image of the “rabbit-in-the-moon” and remembers the story, told by his mother, of love and sacrifice binding together the Great Mother, Creator Rabbit (imagined by Brooks), and one of her earthly creations, a little rabbit. The song continues to honor this story and is meant to “lighten the darkest month of the year with a trail of magic.” Yet the new singer is not satisfied with the performance. Instead of the churchlike place with candlelight where the rabbits gather, he starts to sing right under the moon, “with the rabbit pattern clearly visible,” beginning a new tradition. The soft watercolors, in subdued gray and deep blue, with some contrasting warm brown and golden shades, set a tranquil tone.

A subtle tale, perhaps best read to a thoughtful child in the intimate setting of a winter bedtime. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-55498-320-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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