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PASTA PASTA LOTSA PASTA

As delectable as a book can get. Try it. You’ll really like it!

Mangia! Can one ever tire of Italian food?

Introducing luscious homemade cuisine! The text is almost an aria, expressed in rollicking verse that not only extols the deliciousness of various types of pasta, but also outlines their construction (from scratch, of course). A pale-skinned child welcomes relatives who arrive one by one from wonderful places that rhyme with their names (“Nonno Tito from Tahiti only eats our spaghettini”). Then everyone creates delicacies such as ravioli, lasagna, and rotini. What a large family! What intricate preparations! What ingredients! Even the pets have their favorites. Finally, the family sits down to the bountiful feast, but Mamma accidentally drops the dishes on her way to serve them. “BASTA!” shouts a frustrated Mamma. But all’s not lost. A final ring of the doorbell brings another very welcome visitor, someone who’s fortunately carrying boxes containing a substitute Italian repast. Readers will eat this up. Who wouldn’t love a book about yummy foods, told in such a delightfully bouncy manner? One quibble: There’s no guide to help kids learn to pronounce the food names accurately. Still, the sumptuous foods—long strands of pasta, leaves of basil—pop in the digitally rendered collage illustrations, and Demirağ captures the busy culinary activities of this tightknit, racially diverse family.

As delectable as a book can get. Try it. You’ll really like it! (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: July 2, 2024

ISBN: 9781534473638

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2024

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ROBOBABY

A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy.

Robo-parents Diode and Lugnut present daughter Cathode with a new little brother—who requires, unfortunately, some assembly.

Arriving in pieces from some mechanistic version of Ikea, little Flange turns out to be a cute but complicated tyke who immediately falls apart…and then rockets uncontrollably about the room after an overconfident uncle tinkers with his basic design. As a squad of helpline techies and bevies of neighbors bearing sludge cake and like treats roll in, the cluttered and increasingly crowded scene deteriorates into madcap chaos—until at last Cath, with help from Roomba-like robodog Sprocket, stages an intervention by whisking the hapless new arrival off to a backyard workshop for a proper assembly and software update. “You’re such a good big sister!” warbles her frazzled mom. Wiesner’s robots display his characteristic clean lines and even hues but endearingly look like vaguely anthropomorphic piles of random jet-engine parts and old vacuum cleaners loosely connected by joints of armored cable. They roll hither and thither through neatly squared-off panels and pages in infectiously comical dismay. Even the end’s domestic tranquility lasts only until Cathode spots the little box buried in the bigger one’s packing material: “TWINS!” (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 52% of actual size.)

A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-544-98731-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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JOSÉ AND EL PERRO

Cuándo quieras un perro feliz, look no further.

A young Latine boy finally gets to rescue the dog of his dreams, but training can be a challenge in two languages.

Like many children, José has been dreaming of having a pet of his own, specifically un perro, a dog. Like any good owner, José promptly begins training his new canine companion but soon realizes his rescue mutt, Feliz, knows only words in English. This is a problem because in José’s home everyone speaks both Spanish and English. José and Feliz must rise to the challenge; fortunately, treats and snuggles are great motivators. The narrative uses Spanish words and phrases throughout (“perros blancos,” “¡Yo quiero este!” “¡Sientate!”), usually with English context clues for understanding. This is complex vocabulary for an early reader, and the shifting in phonics from English to Spanish will be challenging for true beginners; the book is best suited for intermediate to advanced readers in dual-language classrooms or homes. Much like Feliz, however, it is sure to find a loving (and bilingual) home. Cheerful illustrations complement the text, helping readers make sense of the narrative. While José and his mother are darker-skinned, his father and sister are lighter-skinned. (This review has been updated for accuracy.)

Cuándo quieras un perro feliz, look no further. (glossary of Spanish-English words) (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 25, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-52116-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

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