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From the Stella & Marigold series

All the heart. None of the pablum. Sisterhood at its finest and freshest.

In this newest series starter from Ivy & Bean creators Barrows and Blackall, two loving sisters navigate the twists and turns of childhood.

From the moment Marigold was born, her 3-year-old sister, Stella, was her world, and vice versa. Seven short chapters relate the adventures of imaginative second grader Stella and spiky preschooler Marigold. Barrows plunges readers into the joys, certainly, but also the deep and abiding frustrations of being a kid. Whether Marigold has a bad time at the zoo or Stella fears that she’s losing her best friend, the two are always there for each other. The book homes in on distinct and familiar childhood moments with near-surgical skill; Barrows’ description of apple juice no longer tasting quite right when Stella is sick is particularly apt (“It tasted like throat”). The stories are certainly in the vein of Ramona Quimby (which the art directly references), in that no one in this book is saintly, beyond reproach, or so perfect that you can’t identify with them. Barrows also channels preschooler logic to an eerily accurate degree. Complementing the text, Blackall’s superb, digitally rendered art renders Stella and Marigold (who both present white) with fairly simple designs, then brings to life their imaginings with incredibly detailed images featuring everything from magnificent lions to rooster heads.

All the heart. None of the pablum. Sisterhood at its finest and freshest. (Early chapter book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2024

ISBN: 9781797219707

Page Count: 108

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 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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From the J.D. the Kid Barber series , Vol. 2

A strong second outing for Dillard and J.D.

Breakout kid barber J.D. embraces a summer of opportunity.

Readers met J.D. Jones just as he took his hometown of Meridian, Mississippi, by storm, winning himself community acclaim and a chair at the revered Hart and Sons barbershop in series opener J.D. and the Great Barber Battle(2021). What’s next for the haircut prodigy? School’s just getting out, and there’s so much life happening outside—if only one can escape home learning with the grandparents. J.D.’s sister, Vanessa, brings along multitalented mutual friend Jessyka to share an ambitious challenge: “Let’s start a YouTube channel!” Can they get millions of views and wow the whole world? They are already amazing at haircuts and hairstyles—all they need is to learn how to make a great YouTube video. The story models strategies for scripting short videos reflecting the templates of viral YouTube hair tutorials, inviting readers to not only see the journey of the characters, but maybe also practice these skills at home. This book is bound to educate all about some of the most storied and cherished traditions within the Black community. Bringing in Vanessa is a great touch to extend the series across gender, and hopefully she’ll get a chance to lead her own adventures. This book blends skill-building, entrepreneurship, and strong family values to give young Black children visions of what’s possible when they follow their passions and embrace their community.

A strong second outing for Dillard and J.D. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-11155-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Kokila

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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