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While hockey fans are the most obvious audience for this book, it depicts a familiar childhood scene.

A hockey superfan can’t get to sleep until he tunes his radio to the big game.

Early one night, a crescent moon and a sprinkling of stars shine over a dozen houses in a small village. Inside one, a multiracial family (brown-skinned dad, white mom, brown-skinned child) watches the hockey game together, but the son’s bedtime comes before the game ends. “What if I can’t fall asleep?” he asks as they put him to bed. Indeed, he stays restless and awake, using his flashlight to illuminate items in his room. “ ‘Goodnight, hockey puck,’ he whispers.” He suddenly remembers that he has his dad’s radio and turns it on, tuning into the game. With this in his ears, he’s soon asleep, dreaming of an exciting hockey game, one in which he bursts onto the ice and seizes control of the puck. After a moment of shock, the other players give chase, too late to catch him. He shoots, he scores! “What a play! What a goal! What a game!” When his parents open the door to check on him, they see that he’s sleeping comfortably but they also hear, faintly, the sound of the radio broadcasting the game. “Goodnight, hockey fans from coast to coast.” Larsen evocatively captures a lovely childhood moment. Lee’s illustrations are nicely composed, with minimal elements and clever use of light.

While hockey fans are the most obvious audience for this book, it depicts a familiar childhood scene. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-77138-105-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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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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A muddled message shoots for the moon but never quite gets all the way off the ground.

A little mouse experiences BIG changes thanks to a spectacular talent.

Dee’s a singer to her core. She croons absolutely everywhere, so when her teacher Miss Pink suggests that her students bring in something that symbolizes what they enjoy doing, Dee brings in a song. As she sings it, however, her joy causes her to physically grow huge! At first this makes her feel special, but as the day goes on she feels lonely and out of place. Shrinking back to her normal size, she worries that this means she can never sing again. But thanks to the encouragement of her mother and little sister, she realizes that being special is nothing to be ashamed of. However, though her classmates have skills of their own, only Dee changes, indicating that some talents are more transformative than others. After all, while everyone is enthralled by Dee, Ren the turtle’s talent for drawing a replica of a space station is something he “made everyone watch.” The true standout in this show comes from Sinquett’s dynamic art, capable of encompassing the emotional highs and lows of elementary school kids. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A muddled message shoots for the moon but never quite gets all the way off the ground. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-368-07806-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

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