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An action-packed introduction to a young lemur and his family that might not be very different from readers’ own.

A playful story set in a faraway place about lemurs, love, and family.

It’s hard to miss Little Lemur as the star of this book. In the first image, his large smiling face peers through rainforest foliage and a leaf balances on his head like a jaunty beret. Uncluttered illustrations with stylized, simplified landscapes and solid backgrounds form the backdrop for an active day in Little Lemur’s life. He and the rest of his lemur family have large, expressive eyes, and their striking ringed tails sometimes intertwine to create hearts. Most female lemurs have a flower tucked behind one ear, and Grandma wears glasses, but their behavior is pure lemur. Or it is? Rhyming couplets weave in the facts of Little Lemur’s life (young lemurs are pups, and Little Lemur’s family group is a troop) and allow readers to observe Little Lemur’s day as he is snuggled, fed, and groomed. He nurses and eats figs and crickets. He climbs, tussles, and chases with siblings and cousins, and sometimes he needs help. Readers will have to rotate the book 90 degrees to take in the illustration revealing the dizzying height of the scary cliff where Little Lemur is stranded. Flowing couplets include unusual words for vocabulary building and discussion (tamarind, gambol, tweak, beckon), and creative wordsmithing captures lemur antics (“Auntie beckons Little Lemur to prancity-prance. / The whole troop joins in their jump-jump dance”) and the book’s overriding theme of familial love. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An action-packed introduction to a young lemur and his family that might not be very different from readers’ own. (further facts) (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-374-38847-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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From the How To Catch… series

A syrupy tribute to mothers that may please fans of the series.

Another creature is on the loose.

The long-running series continues its successful formula with this Hallmark card of a book, which features bright illustrations and catchy rhymes. This time, the mythical creature the racially diverse children set out to catch is an absent mom who does it all (lists of descriptors include the words banker, caregiver, nurse, doctor, driver, chef, housekeeper, teacher, entertainer, playmate, laundry service, problem solver, handywoman, cleaner, and alarm clock) but doesn’t seem to have a job outside the home and is inexplicably a dinosaur. As the children prepare gifts and a meal for her, the text becomes an ode to the skills the Mamasaurus possesses (“Day or night she’s always there. / She meets every wish and need”) and values she instills (“Sometimes life can mean hard work,” “kindness matters,” and “what counts is doing your best”). This well-intentioned selection veers into cliche generously sprinkled with saccharine but manages to redeem itself with its appreciation for mothers and all that they may do. Endpapers include a “to” and “from” page framed in a heart, as well as a page where young gift givers or recipients can draw a picture of their Mamasaurus.

A syrupy tribute to mothers that may please fans of the series. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 5, 2024

ISBN: 9781728274300

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2024

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