Carmen’s moxie still charms, even when Eduardo is stealing the show.

READ REVIEW

LIGHTS, CAMERA, CARMEN!

Dramatic triple threat–in-training Carmen returns in another story of sibling love and sharing the spotlight.

Since putting on her big home stage show in Starring Carmen! (2017), things appear to be going great for young actress/singer/director Carmen and her adoring little brother, Eduardo. When Carmen decides to turn her attention to the big time by submitting an entry to a contest for a Dino-Krispies cereal commercial, she names Eduardo cinematographer (“What’s a cinnamon-tographer?” he asks). She puts together a showstopping dance number, but it’s cute Eduardo in a dino costume who gets the ad agency’s attention. Carmen must, of course, overcome her emotions without displaying bitterness toward Eduardo, who offers to turn down the gig. For readers of the first book, it’ll come as no surprise that Carmen won’t let that happen, and she shows some growth since then in how quickly she becomes a cheerleader for her brother. Soon, Carmen is seeking career opportunities in talent management. What the Carmen books do well is treat the overeager enthusiasm of Carmen with compassion: Her dreams aren’t presented as unrealistic or irritating to her bilingual, interracial, Latinx family; her parents and brother enjoy her performances. The illustrations throughout capture great human moments in the characters’ expressions, the way they stand, dance, and move, and the ebullient mass of purple hair on Carmen’s (and her mother’s) head.

Carmen’s moxie still charms, even when Eduardo is stealing the show. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3169-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

While the amusing scenario may prove to be more a nostalgia trip for adult readers than something today’s kids will...

OY FEH SO?

Weekly Sunday visits from their two aunts and one uncle are so disagreeable that three children take steps to alter the atmosphere through some harmlessly exaggerated imitation.

Each Sunday afternoon the family guests arrive, heavily plop themselves on the living room furniture, and make negative, complaining and resigned statements. “Oy,” says Aunt Essy. “Feh,” says Aunt Chanah. “So?” says Uncle Sam. “That was all they ever said!” Despite the children’s parents’ attempts to make pleasant conversation or the children’s enthusiastic play-acting performed for the guests, the reaction is always the same uncongenial three words. Ink-and-watercolor illustrations depict Essy, Chanah and Sam with unflattering caricatures of stereotypical adult Jewish characters, with clownishly large noses, slouchy, overweight bodies and unsmiling faces. In exasperation, the children each take a role and comically mimic their aunts’ and uncle’s behavior, forcing laughter and recognition. This mishpocheh now redeems itself with a newfound willingness to tell family stories and loving childhood memories; the palette here modulates from muted tones to bright, sunny colors.

While the amusing scenario may prove to be more a nostalgia trip for adult readers than something today’s kids will immediately recognize, they will appreciate the overall sentiment even if they miss the Yiddish essence. Nu? (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-55498-148-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A child’s fear is sweetly tempered by the support of an older sister’s comforting, natural solution.

NIGHT LIGHTS

A SUKKOT STORY

On the first night of Sukkot, Daniel is apprehensive about sleeping in the dark sukkah without a night light.

Older sister Naomi likes to show off her knowledge acquired in Hebrew school, so she tells Daniel all about the holiday. She explains how Jews remember the ancestors’ journey from Egypt, why the sukkah is built, and the reason for an open roof made of tree branches. Once the building and decorating of their sukkah is finished, Daniel’s quiet anxiety parallels Naomi’s eager excitement through the family’s outdoor dinner. At bedtime, the siblings create a makeshift sleeping area in a corner of the sukkah. In the dark, scary nighttime noises and shadowy images disturb Daniel to the point where he begins to go inside. But to his surprise, Naomi, who has a touch of the heebie-jeebies herself, encourages him to stay and look up through the branches of the sukkah’s open roof. He sees a sky full of stars, or “night lights,” as they glowed for the ancestors thousands of years ago. Soft paintings provide a contemporary view of a White Jewish family with some parallel historical scenes of the forbearers making their way through the desert. The interwoven explanation of the holiday within the context of the story is enhanced with an afterword that references today’s refugees, who must live under precarious circumstances in temporary shelters.

A child’s fear is sweetly tempered by the support of an older sister’s comforting, natural solution. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68115-547-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Apples & Honey Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more