An effervescent celebration of the best possibilities of urban multiculturalism. Readers will want to move right in.



A birthday party demands some pretty careful planning.

If you’re not careful, when your mother suggests that you invite a friend over for it, you might ask if your friend can bring someone (thinking of his “really cool brother”), plus some food. Your mom, distracted, will probably say, “Why not? Of course. Invite anyone you’d like.” So unless you’re careful, Jack will bring his cool brother, Larry, and they will bring two different kinds of coconut cookies. Beto and Antonieta will bring both their parrot and some tropical fruit. Fatima will bring her brother Djamel and their dog, along with tahini and pickled lemons. And so on. If you really lose control, the entire community will arrive, complete with salsa dancers and reggae band, and “your birthday party could turn out to be the craziest, wildest, funnest party ever.” Rio de Janeiro native Machado conjures a beguiling, joyful twist on the if-you-give-a-mouse-a-cookie scenario, constructing, guest by “carelessly” invited guest, a vibrant fiesta. Moreau’s acrylic-and–oil-pastel paintings complement the buoyant prose, populating the book with a cast of characters sporting a great variety of skin tones and hair colors, meticulously including their cod cakes, olives, sushi and more. Readers may well be inclined to emulate the drooling cat and dog under the jam-packed picnic table.

An effervescent celebration of the best possibilities of urban multiculturalism. Readers will want to move right in. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-55498-168-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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An interactive book works to get its titular message across to readers.

The narrator, an anthropomorphic cartoon heart with big eyes and stick arms and legs, is nothing if not exuberant in its attempts, clumsy and cloying as they may be. “I love you so much, / but there’s more in my heart. / How is that possible? / Well, where do I start? // Now move in close, and you will see / just how much you mean to me. // My love is huge—below, above. / As you can tell, there’s always more love!” The page following the instruction to move in shows a close-up of the top of the heart and its eyes, one stick arm pointing skyward, though despite the admonition “you can tell,” readers will glean nothing about love from this picture. À la Hervé Tullet, the book prompts readers to act, but the instructions can sometimes be confusing (see above) and are largely irrelevant to the following spread, supposedly triggered by the suggested actions. The heart, suddenly supplied with a painter’s palette and a beret and surrounded by blobs of color, instructs readers to “Shake the book to see what I can be.” The page turn reveals hearts of all different colors, one rainbow-striped, and then different shapes. Most troublingly, the heart, who is clearly meant to be a stand-in for loved ones, states, “I’m always here for you,” which for too many children is heartbreakingly not true.

Skip. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7282-1376-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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This Mother’s Day tale is rather limited in its audience to those who can afford fancy brunch after their own religious...


From the Berenstain Bears series

The Berenstains’ son adds a Mother’s Day entry to the series, continuing the adventures of the Bear family with a religious focus.

Brother, Sister, and Honey want to do something special for Mama for Mother’s Day, and Papa helps them think of just the thing—brunch at the Bear Country Inn after church—and they can invite Grizzly Gran, too. On the ride to church, Mama points out all the ways other families are celebrating their own mothers even though these community helpers are working on the holiday: Officer Marguerite’s children bring her flowers as she directs traffic, and Mrs. Ben’s children are pitching in with farm chores. Indeed, the trip to church is eye-opening for the cubs, who never realized that some of their neighbors even had children. During the church service, Preacher Brown thanks God for the gift of mothers and quotes the Bible: “Your mother was like a vine in your vineyard planted by the water; it was fruitful and full of branches.” While the illustrations are the same as ever (the smiling bears haven’t aged a bit!), the series seems to have moved away from addressing a variety of families.

This Mother’s Day tale is rather limited in its audience to those who can afford fancy brunch after their own religious services, contrary to its apparent message that being together is all that matters. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-310-74869-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Zonderkidz

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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