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From the Mustache series , Vol. 2

Funny—but not funny enough to carry the plot’s weaknesses

After The Day the Mustache Took Over (2015), Nathan and David Wohlfardt find a familiar face in their new nanny, who claims to be their old nanny’s twin brother.

He says his name is Myron Hyron Dyron and that he is not Martin Healey Discount, whom the boys and readers met in the first book, but Martin’s twin brother, and he has come to be their new nanny. Since he displays the identical mustache and nutty quirkiness, plus some knowledge about them that he shouldn’t have, Nathan and David are unconvinced. They chart out his wacky quirks, sorting into columns that support Martin and Myron as the same person or separate people (and also types of pigeons). There’s some quality silliness and clever wordplay, but too frequently the humor coasts on randomness, which takes on its own form of predictability. The episodic first half of the book fails to deliver narrative tension—it’s never established why it matters if they solve the Myron-Martin mystery (something Nathan even points out). At the midpoint, Martin returns, and the nannies compete in a one-month contest to determine which will get to stay. While the story has more forward motion here, Myron and Martin are too similar for readers to care which one wins. The eventual solution comes entirely from Nathan and David’s mother. Both Wohlfardts and nannies are evidently white, judging from cover art.

Funny—but not funny enough to carry the plot’s weaknesses . (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: July 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-61963-560-9

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2016

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From the Rafi and Rosi series

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

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 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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A foodie’s delight, with a sweet message between the layers.

It’s all about the yum in this tale from Tosi, founder of Milk Bar, a chain of bakeries.

Now that his mom and dad are living apart, young Phil finds that his delectable double chocolate cake isn’t the same when he prepares it with just one parent at a time. Nor does making brownies with one and s’mores with the other quite butter the biscuit. His peanut butter cookie–making partner, Sammi, tells him that “every cake has a story. And sometimes stories change.” That sends him to the grocery store for inspiration and leads to a mouthwatering epiphany: “A Chocolate Brownie PB S’mores layer cake!” "New could be exciting and special,” enthuses the author before closing with a challenging but feasible recipe (with the suggestion to torch the top properly left for grown-up sous-chefs). Reinforcing the upbeat tone and positive outlook in this tale of family changes, Balsley’s cartoon illustrations depict a young patissier presenting the very picture of culinary self-confidence as he bustles about two kitchens while his parents look on affectionately and lend an occasional willing ear or hand. This one is best when dished up with sweets and a napkin, like all the better pastry-centered picture books. Phil and his father are tan-skinned, Mom is brown-skinned, and Sammi is light-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A foodie’s delight, with a sweet message between the layers. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2023

ISBN: 9780593110713

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Rocky Pond Books/Penguin

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2023

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