This treacle-sweet book feels like an extended greeting card.

TAKE HEART, MY CHILD

A MOTHER'S DREAM

A mother’s poem to her newborn child by Earhardt, one of FOX News Channel’s co-hosts of Fox & Friends, with the assistance of Cristaldi.

In a series of mostly quatrain stanzas, a mother encourages her child to dive into life and not lose heart at the roadblocks ahead. Unfortunately the poem is a never-ending succession of stale platitudes: “May you never grow tired / Of stretching your branches / Dare to be different / Don’t deny second chances” is followed, predictably, by “And when winter comes / And leaves fall and fade / Take heart, my child, / Don’t be afraid.” Likewise, the nominally freeing “May you strive to be happy / Change your course if you’re not / Embrace the world’s colors / Colors others forgot” is again followed by its predictable counterpart: “But if you grow lonely / Or stars disappear / Take heart, my child, / I will always be near.” Much of the imagery feels driven more by the need to fit scansion and rhyme than sense, as when the narrator describes dreaming “a love song / Near a grand deer ballet” (rhyming with “day”). Kim’s luminous watercolor-and-digital illustrations feature a dark-haired, light-skinned woman in ethereal surroundings, presumably the mother dreaming her hopes for her child. The child is also there at times, as is plenty of nature that goes hand in hand with the accompanying text. Beautiful illustrations, though, are not enough to breathe life into this well-meaning but trite poem.

This treacle-sweet book feels like an extended greeting card. (author’s note) (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6622-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Sept. 5, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2016

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A welcome, well-researched reflection of cultural pride in the early-reader landscape.

RAFI AND ROSI MUSIC!

From the Rafi and Rosi series

The fourth installment in Delacre’s early-reader series centers on the rich musical traditions of Puerto Rico, once again featuring sibling tree frogs Rafi and Rosi Coquí.

Readers learn along with Rafi and Rosi as they explore bomba, plena, and salsa in three chapters. A glossary at the beginning sets readers up well to understand the Spanish vocabulary, including accurate phoneticization for non-Spanish speakers. The stories focus on Rafi and Rosi’s relationship within a musical context. For example, in one chapter Rafi finds out that he attracts a larger audience playing his homemade güiro with Rosi’s help even though he initially excluded her: “Big brothers only.” Even when he makes mistakes, as the older brother, Rafi consoles Rosi when she is embarrassed or angry at him. In each instance, their shared joy for music and dance ultimately shines through any upsets—a valuable reflection of unity. Informational backmatter and author’s sources are extensive. Undoubtedly these will help teachers, librarians, and parents to develop Puerto Rican cultural programs, curriculum, or home activities to extend young readers’ learning. The inclusion of instructions to make one’s own homemade güiro is a thoughtful addition. The Spanish translation, also by Delacre and published simultaneously, will require a more advanced reader than the English one to recognize and comprehend contractions (“pa’bajo-pa-pa’rriba”) and relatively sophisticated vocabulary.

A welcome, well-researched reflection of cultural pride in the early-reader landscape. (Early reader. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-89239-429-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Children's Book Press

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Good-hearted fun—great for fans of Kit Feeny and Babymouse.

MEET THE BIGFEET

From the Yeti Files series , Vol. 1

It’s a Bigfeet family reunion!

Everyone’s favorite frosty, furry cryptid, the yeti, actually has a name: Blizz Richards. From his supersecret HQ in Nepal he keeps in touch with his fellow cryptids, all of whom have sworn an oath to keep themselves hidden. That’s not always easy, especially when there are cryptozoologists, like the nasty (but bumbling) George Vanquist, who are always trying to expose the secretive creatures. Vanquist got a picture of Blizz’s cousin Brian near his home in British Columbia, causing the mortified Brian to disappear entirely. When Blizz receives an invitation to a Bigfeet family reunion in Canada, he calls his buddies Alexander (one of Santa’s elves), Gunthar (a goblin) and Frank the Arctic fox to help him get ready. When they arrive in Canada, Brian is still nowhere to be seen. Can Blizz and his skunk ape and other sasquatch cousins find Brian, have the reunion and evade Vanquist? If anyone can, the Bigfeet clan can. Illustrator Sherry’s first volume in the Yeti Files is a fast and funny graphic-prose tale full of labeled pictures and comic-style panels. Those just starting chapter books may have some trouble with a few big words, but they’ll enjoy the big friendly monsters and immediately ask for the next tale—which looks to be about the Loch Ness monster.

Good-hearted fun—great for fans of Kit Feeny and Babymouse. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-55617-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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