North American readers and listeners are likely to catch Anna’s enthusiasm just as quickly.

READ REVIEW

SPLASH, ANNA HIBISCUS!

From the Anna Hibiscus series

On a family trip to the beach, Anna Hibiscus convinces her extended family to join her, splashing and laughing in the waves.

Like Anna Hibiscus’ Song (2011) and chapter books starring this irrepressible child, this celebrates Anna’s family and her home in “amazing Africa.” This beach trip starts on the front endpapers, where careful readers can pick out the boat that will carry her whole family through the title page and to a beach offshore. There, everyone happily finds things to do—read, braid each other’s hair, bury a cousin in the sand, play soccer, chat with the fishermen, compare smartphones. They’re all too busy to play in the waves with Anna. After being turned down by each group of family members (except for her napping grandparents), Anna goes to play with the waves on her own. Worried child readers (and adults) will quickly be relieved; Anna’s enjoyment of the gentle surf is infectious, and she’s soon surrounded by cousins, parents, aunts and uncles, and even the now wide-awake grandparents. Tobia’s joyous illustrations portray this extended family realistically in digitally colored drawings. Only Anna and her Canadian mother have actual bathing suits; the others happily plunge in in their street clothes. Everyone smiles; Anna is irresistible.

North American readers and listeners are likely to catch Anna’s enthusiasm just as quickly. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-61067-173-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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A treat to be savored—and a lesson learned—any time of year.

LOVE MONSTER AND THE LAST CHOCOLATE

From the Love Monster series

The surprised recipient of a box of chocolates agonizes over whether to eat the whole box himself or share with his friends.

Love Monster is a chocoholic, so when he discovers the box on his doorstep, his mouth waters just thinking about what might be inside; his favorite’s a double chocolate strawberry swirl. The brief thought that he should share these treats with his friends is easily rationalized away. Maybe there won’t be enough for everyone, perhaps someone will eat his favorite, or, even worse, leave him with his least favorite: the coffee one! Bright’s pacing and tone are on target throughout, her words conveying to readers exactly what the monster is thinking and feeling: “So he went into his house. And so did the box of chocolates…without a whisper of a word to anyone.” This is followed by a “queasy-squeezy” feeling akin to guilt and then by a full-tilt run to his friends, chocolates in hand, and a breathless, stream-of-consciousness confession, only to be brought up short by what’s actually in the box. And the moral is just right: “You see, sometimes it’s when you stop to think of others…that you start to find out just how much they think of you.” Monster’s wide eyes and toothy mouth convey his emotions wonderfully, and the simple backgrounds keep the focus on his struggle.

A treat to be savored—and a lesson learned—any time of year. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-00-754030-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 21, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2015

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Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children.

THE NIGHT IS YOURS

On hot summer nights, Amani’s parents permit her to go outside and play in the apartment courtyard, where the breeze is cool and her friends are waiting.

The children jump rope to the sounds of music as it floats through a neighbor’s window, gaze at stars in the night sky, and play hide-and-seek in the moonlight. It is in the moonlight that Amani and her friends are themselves found by the moon, and it illumines the many shades of their skin, which vary from light tan to deep brown. In a world where darkness often evokes ideas of evil or fear, this book is a celebration of things that are dark and beautiful—like a child’s dark skin and the night in which she plays. The lines “Show everyone else how to embrace the night like you. Teach them how to be a night-owning girl like you” are as much an appeal for her to love and appreciate her dark skin as they are the exhortation for Amani to enjoy the night. There is a sense of security that flows throughout this book. The courtyard is safe and homelike. The moon, like an additional parent, seems to be watching the children from the sky. The charming full-bleed illustrations, done in washes of mostly deep blues and greens, make this a wonderful bedtime story.

Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55271-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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