When life gave her lemons, Ruby made lemonade. A sweet read—and lesson—for young readers.

RUBY'S REUNION DAY DINNER

Will this be the year Ruby gets to make and share a dish at the annual family reunion?

Once a year, Ruby’s African American family gets together for a reunion and soul food dinner. Every year her relatives prepare their signature dishes, and this year Ruby wants to make one, too. Affectionately nicknamed “Lil’ Bit” by relatives, Ruby doesn’t know what to make, and when Auntie Billie questions if she’s big enough to help in the kitchen, Ruby begins to have doubts, too. Nevertheless, fueled by her mother’s confidence that she will find her special something to make, Ruby approaches her family members in hopes that they will allow her to help them, but there’s no use, Ruby is just too small. Readers will feel Ruby’s discouragement even as their mouths begin to water at the meal her family is assembling. Finally, she ventures outside, where she notices a stand of lemon trees and she gets the bright idea to make a refreshing pitcher of lemonade—which is just what they all needed. This is a charming book that works well as a read-aloud, especially as a lap read with children who are gaining independence and want to do more than they are able. Ruby’s well-drawn expressions support the use of this book as a picture walk with very young readers. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

When life gave her lemons, Ruby made lemonade. A sweet read—and lesson—for young readers. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-301574-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

A shining affirmation of Chinese American identity.

I AM GOLDEN

An immigrant couple’s empowering love letter to their child.

Baby Mei rests in her parents’ embrace, flanked by Chinese architecture on one side and the New York skyline on the other. She will be a bridge across the “oceans and worlds and cultures” that separate her parents from their homeland, China. Mei—a Chinese word which means beautiful—shares a name with her family’s new home: Měi Guó (America). Her parents acknowledge the hypocrisy of xenophobia: “It’s a strange world we live in—people will call you different with one breath and then say that we all look the same with the next angry breath.” Mei will have the responsibility of being “teacher and translator” to her parents. They might not be able to completely shield her from racism, othering, and the pressures of assimilation, but they can reassure and empower her—and they do. Mei and young readers are encouraged to rely on the “golden flame” of strength, power, and hope they carry within them. The second-person narration adds intimacy to the lyrical text. Diao’s lovely digital artwork works in tandem with Chen’s rich textual imagery to celebrate Chinese culture, family history, and language. The illustrations incorporate touchstones of Chinese mythology and art—a majestic dragon, a phoenix, and lotus flowers—as well as family photographs. One double-page spread depicts a lineup of notable Chinese Americans. In the backmatter, Chen and Diao relay their own family stories of immigration. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A shining affirmation of Chinese American identity. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-84205-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

Did you like this book?

more