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MISS PRISS AND SASHA

It's a nice-enough book with a well-handled message, but probably not one that holds up to too many repeated readings.

A storybook with a clear, easy-to-understand message about embracing the similarities of friends who live under different circumstances, this app succeeds even if its page structure proves cumbersome.

Melissa, or "Miss Priss" as she's known to her family, is a little girl who wears a princess crown and has a best friend named Sasha. In her chirpy voice, she narrates a series of observations about Sasha. Melissa tells readers at the start that Sasha has a wheelchair and "[s]leeps in a special, super cool bed." But thereafter, Melissa doesn't focus on Sasha's unspecified disability. Instead, she recounts all the ways that the two girls are alike, from the apple juice boxes they enjoy to the trouble they get into when they throw tantrums. The two girls love apples and hate Brussels sprouts. Sasha plays the piano, and Melissa loves to join in as they sing together. Appropriately, the app matter-of-factly points out the one way that Sasha is different without belaboring the point. She is simply a little girl who happens to be Melissa's best friend, and their widely varying expressions indicate that have they a great time together. The app itself offers no extra options or frills beyond arrows or finger swipes to turn each page. The one misstep is that many pages contain text that reads "Tap here" to display an additional, paired page. It's easy to miss that text, and each time it's employed, it brings the reader back to the original page rather than advancing the story. There ought to be a more elegant way to read straight through.

It's a nice-enough book with a well-handled message, but probably not one that holds up to too many repeated readings. (iPad storybook app. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 27, 2012

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: The Best Story Apps and Books for Little Children, Big Kids and Family

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2012

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CARPENTER'S HELPER

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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