A mother and daughter share their art, their craft and their love.

A little girl tells readers how much she loves to draw. Her mother does not draw—she knits, which is far better, according to the girl, because you can wear knit garments such as hats and mittens or play with finger puppets on a glove. However much the girl tries, though, she cannot learn to knit; the yarn ends up in a tangle. Her mother reassures her and suggests a project. Mom will knit what her daughter draws. Inspiration comes, and they gather their supplies, finish the project and happily share its warmth at the beach on a chilly day. The bespectacled mother, her daughter and a little dog are colorful characters rendered with a bit of digital help in a mix of gouache, colored pencil, ink and collage against a white background. Swirls of yarn, a typeface that resembles handwriting and smiling cartoon faces add up to a lively and enjoyable story about sharing hobbies and good times. It’s a little too bad there’s no author’s note about intarsia knitting.

A warm family story . (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8037-4099-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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A digressive plot gets in the way of this celebration of female relationships.


Neela loves cooking with her mother in their big, warm kitchen, where her grandmother’s portrait hangs on the wall.

On Saturday, Neela and Amma go to the green market to buy the vegetable Neela loves cooking best: tomatoes! Together, Neela and Amma make a sauce using a recipe passed down from Paati. As they cook, Neela and her mother dance to the music Amma’s bangles make when she chops vegetables and grates carrots. Amma tells Neela about how tomatoes came from Mesoamerica, where they were cultivated by the ancient Aztecs, and how Europeans initially feared they were poisonous. Now, Amma says, they’re used in cooking all over the world—including India, where Paati’s recipe comes from. As they finish the sauce and can it for the winter, Amma tells Neela about the tomato harvest and about the benefits of eating and cooking vegetables and fruits while they are in season. As they finish preserving the sauce, Neela saves a jar for Paati, who will visit in the winter. Martinez-Neal’s warmly textured, beautifully detailed illustrations are the perfect celebration of intergenerational love. Similarly, the gentle text has some lovely emotional moments. However, Lakshmi includes so much information in the narrative that it meanders, which may cause readers to lose hold of its core. Recipes for sauce and chutney, additional tomato facts, a note about farm workers, and a personal note close the book.

A digressive plot gets in the way of this celebration of female relationships. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-20270-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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Daddy-and-child dog lovers can try some of these canine ways of expressing affection.


Puppies celebrate the many ways their dads are awesome.

“Daddies are playful. / They swing you around. // You ride on their shoulders / or hang upside down.” The first spread pictures a scruffy pup, mouth clamped on its dad’s tail, hanging. The second features a long dachshund, his four pups using the large expanse of his back as a jungle gym or resting spot. The husky dad is labeled as daring, brave, and strong, while the hound takes his pup on adventures (digging and hiding under a bush). Other dog dads give kisses and tickles, tell bedtime stories and help count sheep (a stuffed toy), and help their pups grow (challenging them with stairs and carrying them when the going gets tough). Lovšin creatively interprets some of the text that applies well to kids but not so well to canines: dad and pup at each end of a long stick held in their mouths is the dog equivalent of holding hands. Though many dog breeds will be familiar, some are just mutts, though all are shown caring for and enjoying the company of their offspring. White backgrounds keep the focus on the dogs.

Daddy-and-child dog lovers can try some of these canine ways of expressing affection. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 17, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-452-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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