In a surplus of books on city life, this one is charming and sweet.

THE CITY GIRLS

Clad in yellow once again, the 16 diverse and curious pals from Weather Girls (2018) and Nature Girls (2019) set out to explore the big city.

From sunrise to sunset, the city is a sight to behold. The girls start early in the morning, grabbing bagel breakfasts at a coffee cart before being enveloped by the city’s hustle and bustle. Crowds swarm the sidewalks, and traffic clogs the streets. The tiny tots gamely face it all with smiles and exuberance (except one, who gets a little too close to a scooter). When rain threatens their plans, they head down to the subway (New Yorkers will appreciate the nod to Pizza Rat). Their first stop? The bookstore! Then there’s a trip to the museum, an eggs-only restaurant (“Eggsquisite” of course), and the park. The city has something for everyone. The rhyme is brisk: “Everyone is crossing streets— / Lights and whistles, / honks and tweets!” Aki’s pace matches the city’s commotion. The specific city landscape is nebulous, so therefore the appended further information on cities is generic. Instead of naming precise landmarks, for instance, it simply talks about how “buildings are often close together” along with nonspecific information about urban, suburban, and rural differences in greenery, housing, and transportation.

In a surplus of books on city life, this one is charming and sweet. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-31395-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Godwin Books/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here.

ONE LOVE

A sugary poem, very loosely based on the familiar song, lacks focus.

Using only the refrain from the original (“One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel all right!”), the reggae great’s daughter Cedella Marley sees this song as her “happy song” and adapts it for children. However, the adaptation robs it of life. After the opening lines, readers familiar with the original song (or the tourism advertisement for Jamaica) will be humming along only to be stopped by the bland lines that follow: “One love, what the flower gives the bee.” and then “One love, what Mother Earth gives the tree.” Brantley-Newton’s sunny illustrations perfectly reflect the saccharine quality of the text. Starting at the beginning of the day, readers see a little girl first in bed, under a photograph of Bob Marley, the sun streaming into her room, a bird at the window. Each spread is completely redundant—when the text is about family love, the illustration actually shows little hearts floating from her parents to the little girl. An image of a diverse group getting ready to plant a community garden, walking on top of a river accompanies the words “One love, like the river runs to the sea.”

Though this celebration of community is joyful, there just is not much here. (afterword) (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0224-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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THE GRUFFALO

The action of this rhymed and humorous tale centers upon a mouse who "took a stroll/through the deep dark wood./A fox saw the mouse/and the mouse looked good." The mouse escapes being eaten by telling the fox that he is on his way to meet his friend the gruffalo (a monster of his imagination), whose favorite food is roasted fox. The fox beats a hasty retreat. Similar escapes are in store for an owl and a snake; both hightail it when they learn the particulars: tusks, claws, terrible jaws, eyes orange, tongue black, purple prickles on its back. When the gruffalo suddenly materializes out of the mouse's head and into the forest, the mouse has to think quick, declaring himself inedible as the "scariest creature in the deep dark wood," and inviting the gruffalo to follow him to witness the effect he has on the other creatures. When the gruffalo hears that the mouse's favorite food is gruffalo crumble, he runs away. It's a fairly innocuous tale, with twists that aren't sharp enough and treachery that has no punch. Scheffler's funny scenes prevent the suspense from culminating; all his creatures, predator and prey, are downright lovable. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8037-2386-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1999

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