For caregivers of extremely extroverted kids, Carmen’s ambitions will feel very familiar; for kid readers, Carmen and...

STARRING CARMEN!

An attention-seeking young star of imaginative stage shows—all produced at home for her Latinx family members—learns that sharing the spotlight can be equally fulfilling.

Carmen is a whirlwind of many talents, a “one-girl sensación” who acts, sings, dances, and even costume-designs musicals every night for her supportive but slightly exhausted parents and star-struck little brother. When her parents call for an intermission on all the show-business activity, Carmen sulks. But when she sees her brother, Eduardo, previously cast in nonspeaking roles (“You can be a rock”), has his own imaginative ideas, Carmen decides that her productions can be even better as an ensemble. Smartly, the narrative depicts all Carmen’s activities as creative work; it’s not just about the performance, but also building and rehearsing. And her parents (dark-skinned mom and light-skinned dad) accommodate her dreams while also realistically hoping to enforce bedtime and make sure Eduardo doesn’t get left in the shadows. The art seems to leap off the page, turning Carmen’s stagecraft into magic, whether it’s colorful pirate seascapes or robot rock operas. The mix of detail between home decoration and wildly over-the-top costumes and props is well-balanced and rich.

For caregivers of extremely extroverted kids, Carmen’s ambitions will feel very familiar; for kid readers, Carmen and Eduardo’s very fun activities might inspire some musical productions at home. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2321-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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A good choice for just those days when Mom and Dad do go away and leave their children in charge of Grandpa.

HOW TO BABYSIT A GRANDPA

From the How To... series

Reagan’s second outing is a tongue-in-cheek reversal of roles as a young boy instructs readers on how best to entertain and care for a grandpa while Mom and Dad are away.

First, he instructs them to hide when Grandpa rings the doorbell—resist the wiggles and giggles, and only pop out when he gives up. Then, reassure him that Mom and Dad will be back and distract him with a snack—heavy on the ice cream, cookies, ketchup and olives. Throughout the day, the narrator takes his grandpa for a walk, entertains him, plays with him, puts him down for a nap and encourages him to clean up before Mom and Dad’s return. Lists on almost every spread give readers a range of ideas for things to try, provided their grandfathers are not diabetic or arthritic, or have high blood pressure or a heart condition. These lists also provide Wildish with lots of fodder for his vignette illustrations. His digital artwork definitely focuses on the humor, with laugh-out-loud scenes and funny hidden details. And his characters’ expressive faces also help to fill in the grandfather-grandson relationship that Reagan's deadpan narrative leaves unstated.

A good choice for just those days when Mom and Dad do go away and leave their children in charge of Grandpa. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-375-86713-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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