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Beautifully crafted and warmly empathetic.

Inspired by her family’s experiences of leaving Moscow following Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine, Desnitskaya examines the effects of emigration.

A mother and child, pale-skinned with reddish hair, have left home. The youngster shares details about the big city they’ve left behind. A star-shaped cardboard lamp used to hang in the apartment’s kitchen window, orienting the child while the little one headed home from music lessons. As war began, “We left for another country. It’s not like home here.” The language, the food, the view from the bleak new apartment: all unfamiliar. A gifted illustrator, Desnitskaya contrasts past and present in facing spreads with varied color intensities. Prior scenes show the family’s contentment as they eat and read in the warm glow of the star lamp. There’s a red-haired, light-skinned adult in one scene: Dad? The new city and apartment are unremittingly gray, with shop and street signs depicted in intentionally obscure text. People’s word bubbles reveal only scribbles. “Even Mom is different.” She bends over her phone, her back to the narrator, effectively personifying the desperate attempt to connect with what—and who—has been left behind. When Mom brings craft supplies home one day, the pair make a cardboard star and rig a lamp for the window. “After that, everything around us became a little less different.” Scenes brighten as the city grows more decipherable, and the narrator makes a friend. The blue-and-yellow color palette poignantly hints at Desnitskaya’s sympathies.

Beautifully crafted and warmly empathetic. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 20, 2024

ISBN: 9780802856319

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2024

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It’s hard to argue with success, but guides that actually do the math will be more useful to budding capitalists.

How to raise money for a coveted poster: put your friends to work!

John, founder of the FUBU fashion line and a Shark Tank venture capitalist, offers a self-referential blueprint for financial success. Having only half of the $10 he needs for a Minka J poster, Daymond forks over $1 to buy a plain T-shirt, paints a picture of the pop star on it, sells it for $5, and uses all of his cash to buy nine more shirts. Then he recruits three friends to decorate them with his design and help sell them for an unspecified amount (from a conveniently free and empty street-fair booth) until they’re gone. The enterprising entrepreneur reimburses himself for the shirts and splits the remaining proceeds, which leaves him with enough for that poster as well as a “brand-new business book,” while his friends express other fiscal strategies: saving their share, spending it all on new art supplies, or donating part and buying a (math) book with the rest. (In a closing summation, the author also suggests investing in stocks, bonds, or cryptocurrency.) Though Miles cranks up the visual energy in her sparsely detailed illustrations by incorporating bright colors and lots of greenbacks, the actual advice feels a bit vague. Daymond is Black; most of the cast are people of color. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

It’s hard to argue with success, but guides that actually do the math will be more useful to budding capitalists. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 21, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-56727-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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