Engaging color photographs of Angelica and her grandmother, who lives right next door in a San Francisco housing project, accompany the simple text that highlights the contemporary life of a Hispanic family. Some older sepia-tone family photographs also appear to document Francisca’s earlier life in New Mexico. With parents born in the US and grandparents born in Spain, Francisca does not appear to have Mexican roots, but because of her New Mexican roots, many of the foods mentioned in the text are Mexican, such as burritos and tortillas. A recipe is given for calabacitas, a vegetable stew including tomatoes, zucchini, and corn that has variants in several countries. Each two-page spread has a simple sentence in very large type that young children may be able to read themselves, followed by several paragraphs in good-sized, though smaller type that provide additional details. Angelica’s parents are not mentioned much, but the emphasis is on the grandmother-grandchild relationship. The celebration of Three King’s Day (Epiphany) is described as one Hispanic holiday, but its context within the larger Christmas season is not specified, nor is the date given. This is one in a series that the prolific Morris (Families, 2000, etc.) has written about grandmothers from different ethnic groups and the format includes a recipe, a craft (here a rather generic sock doll is featured), and some instructions for finding out about family history. Simple pictures by Linenthal (who has also taken the fine photographs) accompany the recipe and the craft and show a family tree at the end, but these painted illustrations appear out of place within the photo-essay format. Teachers, grandparents, and parents will enjoy sharing this with children of all cultures and then moving on to their own family memories. (Nonfiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7613-2315-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2002

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Well-meaning and with a lovely presentation, this sentimental effort may be aimed more at adults than kids.


Little girls are given encouragement and assurance so they can meet the challenges of life as they move through the big, wide world.

Delicately soft watercolor-style art depicts naturalistic scenes with a diverse quintet of little girls portraying potential situations they will encounter, as noted by a narrative heavily dependent on a series of clichés. “The stars are high, and you can reach them,” it promises as three of the girls chase fireflies under a star-filled night sky. “Oceans run deep, and you will learn to swim,” it intones as one girl treads water and another leans over the edge of a boat to observe life on the ocean floor. “Your feet will take many steps, my brave little girl. / Let your heart lead the way.” Girls gingerly step across a brook before making their way through a meadow. The point of all these nebulous metaphors seems to be to inculcate in girls the independence, strength, and confidence they’ll need to succeed in their pursuits. Trying new things, such as foods, is a “delicious new adventure.” Though the quiet, gentle text is filled with uplifting words that parents will intuitively relate to or comprehend, the esoteric messages may be a bit sentimental and ambiguous for kids to understand or even connect to. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.5-by-19-inch double-page spreads viewed at 50% of actual size.)

Well-meaning and with a lovely presentation, this sentimental effort may be aimed more at adults than kids. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-30072-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy.


Robo-parents Diode and Lugnut present daughter Cathode with a new little brother—who requires, unfortunately, some assembly.

Arriving in pieces from some mechanistic version of Ikea, little Flange turns out to be a cute but complicated tyke who immediately falls apart…and then rockets uncontrollably about the room after an overconfident uncle tinkers with his basic design. As a squad of helpline techies and bevies of neighbors bearing sludge cake and like treats roll in, the cluttered and increasingly crowded scene deteriorates into madcap chaos—until at last Cath, with help from Roomba-like robodog Sprocket, stages an intervention by whisking the hapless new arrival off to a backyard workshop for a proper assembly and software update. “You’re such a good big sister!” warbles her frazzled mom. Wiesner’s robots display his characteristic clean lines and even hues but endearingly look like vaguely anthropomorphic piles of random jet-engine parts and old vacuum cleaners loosely connected by joints of armored cable. They roll hither and thither through neatly squared-off panels and pages in infectiously comical dismay. Even the end’s domestic tranquility lasts only until Cathode spots the little box buried in the bigger one’s packing material: “TWINS!” (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 52% of actual size.)

A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-544-98731-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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