A heartwarming portrayal of a family embracing disability.

DANCING WITH DADDY

A nonverbal girl who uses a wheelchair anticipates a father-daughter dance in Schulte’s debut.

As Elsie and her mother shop for the perfect dress, Elsie ponders: Pink or red? Red matches Daddy’s soccer jersey—a red dress it is! Her supportive sisters are thrilled for her, too. But it’s snowing harder and harder. What if the dance is canceled? Refreshingly, Elsie’s disability is seamlessly presented as simply another aspect of family life; for instance, as Elsie’s sisters slurp up noodles with chopsticks, Daddy matter-of-factly gives Elsie a “push” of liquid food through a feeding tube. Pops of rhyme or alliteration add pep to the straightforward text: “Inside, daughters dashed. Ponytails bounced. Dresses flounced.” Inspired by the author’s daughter, who has Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome, Elsie is delightfully expressive. Elsie’s italicized thoughts convey her worry and excitement; she “can’t wait to see [her] dress spin.” Her face, bearing characteristic features of the disorder, radiates emotion. She frowns forlornly at fat snowflakes and beams with infectious joy as her sisters help her “[find] her groove.” Whether she’s pointing to pictures in her communication book or anxiously indicating her missing hair bow, her family is warmly attentive. As she swings and sways in her father’s arms, her forehead against his, their love is palpable; Chen’s illustrations fairly glow with affection. Elsie and her family are cued as East Asian.

A heartwarming portrayal of a family embracing disability. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5420-0719-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez,...

MANGO, ABUELA, AND ME

Abuela is coming to stay with Mia and her parents. But how will they communicate if Mia speaks little Spanish and Abuela, little English? Could it be that a parrot named Mango is the solution?

The measured, evocative text describes how Mia’s español is not good enough to tell Abuela the things a grandmother should know. And Abuela’s English is too poquito to tell Mia all the stories a granddaughter wants to hear. Mia sets out to teach her Abuela English. A red feather Abuela has brought with her to remind her of a wild parrot that roosted in her mango trees back home gives Mia an idea. She and her mother buy a parrot they name Mango. And as Abuela and Mia teach Mango, and each other, to speak both Spanish and English, their “mouths [fill] with things to say.” The accompanying illustrations are charmingly executed in ink, gouache, and marker, “with a sprinkling of digital magic.” They depict a cheery urban neighborhood and a comfortable, small apartment. Readers from multigenerational immigrant families will recognize the all-too-familiar language barrier. They will also cheer for the warm and loving relationship between Abuela and Mia, which is evident in both text and illustrations even as the characters struggle to understand each other. A Spanish-language edition, Mango, Abuela, y yo, gracefully translated by Teresa Mlawer, publishes simultaneously.

This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez, an honoree. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6900-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

Sweet, good-hearted fun.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE SOUR GRAPE

From the Food Group series

A recovering curmudgeon narrates life lessons in the latest entry in the punny Food Group series.

Grape wasn’t always sour, as they explain in this origin story. Grape’s arc starts with an idyllic childhood within “a close-knit bunch” in a community of “about three thousand.” The sweet-to-sour switch begins when Grape plans an elaborate birthday party to which no one shows up. Going from “sweet” to “bitter,” “snappy,” and, finally, “sour,” Grape “scowled so much that my face got all squishy.” Minor grudges become major. An aha moment occurs when a run of bad luck makes Grape three hours late for a meetup with best friend Lenny, who’s just as acidic as Grape. After the irate lemon storms off, Grape recognizes their own behavior in Lenny. Alone, Grape begins to enjoy the charms of a lovely evening. Once home, the fruit browses through a box of memorabilia, discovering that the old birthday party invitation provided the wrong date! “I realized nobody’s perfect. Not even me.” Remaining pages reverse the downturn as Grape observes that minor setbacks are easily weathered when the emphasis is on talking, listening, and working things out. Oswald’s signature illustrations depict Grape and company with big eyes and tiny limbs. The best sight gag occurs early: Grape’s grandparents are depicted as elegant raisins. The lessons are as valuable as in previous outings, and kids won’t mind the slight preachiness. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sweet, good-hearted fun. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-304541-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more