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From the Storytelling Math series , Vol. 1

No frills, but it does the job.

In this entry in the Storytelling Math series, children are introduced to the concepts of measuring and comparing.

Brazilian Portuguese–speaking siblings Lia and Luís have a relationship marked by a little rivalry. Luís is quick to brag, and Lia doesn’t mind, usually. As they play with blocks, Luís’ tower may be taller, but Lia’s tower—patiently built—doesn’t fall over as easily. When they go to their family’s store for snacks—biscoito de polvilho (tapioca biscuits) for Luís, coxinhas de galinha (chicken croquettes) for Lia—the rivalry continues: “I have more!” brags Luis. But does he? The children compare their snacks by container size (height, width, depth), quantity, and finally by weight. It looks like Lia may finally be the winner, but a sad look on her brother’s face gives her an idea. Sharing a bit of her croquette makes the two sides equal. Simple and uncluttered illustrations follow the children as they try different ways of comparing. There is a sprinkling of Brazilian Portuguese scattered throughout the text (a glossary can be found at the end). The children and their father are portrayed with olive skin and black hair. The backmatter includes more on the math concepts and suggestions of strategies adults can use with children to further develop their measuring skills.

No frills, but it does the job. (Math picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62354-127-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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