Read for the illustrations and the characters (but not the math).

USHA AND THE BIG DIGGER

From the Storytelling Math series

Usha loves two things: trucks and cartwheels (although she’s still not quite sure how to do a cartwheel).

When her big sister, Aarti, points out the Big Dipper while stargazing, Usha doesn’t see a scoop at all; instead, she sees a truck. Usha confidently tells her sister that the constellation (or, more accurately, as Knight notes in the backmatter, the asterism) she’s seeing isn’t a big dipper—it’s a big digger. Things get even more complicated when the girls’ cousin Gloria comes over the next night. Gloria doesn’t see the constellation as a scoop or a truck; she sees it as a kite! Through all of this, Usha practices her cartwheels. Each of the girls is convinced that the others are seeing the stars in the wrong way, until Usha flops on the ground after a failed cartwheel and realizes that the constellation is, in fact, a scoop, a truck, and a kite, depending on its orientation. This latest edition to the Storytelling Math series features stunning illustrations of dark-skinned South Asian protagonists, with Gloria apparently biracial (Black/South Asian). The book bursts with charming images of endearing kids, and the story’s presentation of the girls’ varying, equally valid perspectives is a valuable tool for promoting empathy. However, its success at demonstrating the principle of orientation via a constellation is imperfect; any of the concrete examples in the backmatter would have worked better.

Read for the illustrations and the characters (but not the math). (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-62354-202-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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A cozy read for bibliophiles.

SNOWMAN'S STORY

With echoes of “Frosty the Snowman” in the background, a snowman’s storybook within this wordless book delivers a comic wintertime romp.

Woodland creatures build a snowman, giving him a green book as a finishing touch. This addition comes right after a windswept top hat lands on his head, vivifying him à la Frosty. Hidden inside is a rabbit (it is a magic hat, after all); attentive readers will have seen the hat first on frontmatter pages and then with the bunny in the double-page spreads before the early ones devoted to the snowman’s construction. The snowman reads his book aloud to the animals, with the rabbit surreptitiously listening in, its ears poking out of the top of the hat. When the others all drift off to sleep, the bunny emerges and steals away with the book. A chase ensues across snowy terrain and through a series of pages (perhaps a few too many for good pacing) replete with comic-style panels. When the animals and snowman confront the rabbit in its tree-hollow home, its motivation for book thievery is revealed: This bunny has a family and wishes to share the story with its children. All’s well that ends well, and the animals convene (safely outside and away from the rabbit family’s crackling fireplace) to read together.

A cozy read for bibliophiles. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4787-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force.

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LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET

A young boy yearns for what he doesn’t have, but his nana teaches him to find beauty in what he has and can give, as well as in the city where they live.

CJ doesn’t want to wait in the rain or take the bus or go places after church. But through Nana’s playful imagination and gentle leadership, he begins to see each moment as an opportunity: Trees drink raindrops from straws; the bus breathes fire; and each person has a story to tell. On the bus, Nana inspires an impromptu concert, and CJ’s lifted into a daydream of colors and light, moon and magic. Later, when walking past broken streetlamps on the way to the soup kitchen, CJ notices a rainbow and thinks of his nana’s special gift to see “beautiful where he never even thought to look.” Through de la Peña’s brilliant text, readers can hear, feel and taste the city: its grit and beauty, its quiet moments of connectedness. Robinson’s exceptional artwork works with it to ensure that readers will fully understand CJ’s journey toward appreciation of the vibrant, fascinating fabric of the city. Loosely defined patterns and gestures offer an immediate and raw quality to the Sasek-like illustrations. Painted in a warm palette, this diverse urban neighborhood is imbued with interest and possibility.

This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-25774-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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