A humorous dose of wordplay and righteous childhood indignation.

Visual thinkers, take note: You may need to read the title and part of this rabble-rousing story out loud to catch the clever central pun, but children everywhere will relate.

Who is Ana Dalt? “When I see something fragile, I want it so much! / But when I reach up to get it, someone always yells… // ‘DON’T TOUCH!’ / ‘Only ANA DALT should be touching that stuff.’ ” Time and again, the narrator, an overalls- and baseball-cap–wearing child with beige skin and dark, chin-length hair, is deterred. Want to explore a lawn mower or gardening tool? “That’s for Ana Dalt!” When a scary movie comes on…“This is for Ana Dalt” too. Ready to grab a fancy party snack? “ ‘THAT’S NOT YOUR TREAT!’ / ‘That’s for Ana Dalt.’ ” Frustration builds until the narrator is standing on a stool with fist raised in protest. “It’s time someone tells me where Ana Dalt’s at! // Has anyone told her it’s nicer to share? / Does she even know? Does she even care?” Realistic illustrations with attitude emphasize facial expressions to capture a full range of emotions, including curiosity, anger, fear, and the struggle for understanding. The protagonist’s parents appear to be an interracial couple, suggesting the child is biracial; a genial and hairy family dog accompanies the narrator throughout. Secondary characters present with various skin tones.

A humorous dose of wordplay and righteous childhood indignation. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4867-1810-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flowerpot Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020


Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions.

Ellis, known for her illustrations for Colin Meloy’s Wildwood series, here riffs on the concept of “home.”

Shifting among homes mundane and speculative, contemporary and not, Ellis begins and ends with views of her own home and a peek into her studio. She highlights palaces and mansions, but she also takes readers to animal homes and a certain famously folkloric shoe (whose iconic Old Woman manages a passel of multiethnic kids absorbed in daring games). One spread showcases “some folks” who “live on the road”; a band unloads its tour bus in front of a theater marquee. Ellis’ compelling ink and gouache paintings, in a palette of blue-grays, sepia and brick red, depict scenes ranging from mythical, underwater Atlantis to a distant moonscape. Another spread, depicting a garden and large building under connected, transparent domes, invites readers to wonder: “Who in the world lives here? / And why?” (Earth is seen as a distant blue marble.) Some of Ellis’ chosen depictions, oddly juxtaposed and stripped of any historical or cultural context due to the stylized design and spare text, become stereotypical. “Some homes are boats. / Some homes are wigwams.” A sailing ship’s crew seems poised to land near a trio of men clad in breechcloths—otherwise unidentified and unremarked upon.

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6529-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014


Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity.

A collection of parental wishes for a child.

It starts out simply enough: two children run pell-mell across an open field, one holding a high-flying kite with the line “I wish you more ups than downs.” But on subsequent pages, some of the analogous concepts are confusing or ambiguous. The line “I wish you more tippy-toes than deep” accompanies a picture of a boy happily swimming in a pool. His feet are visible, but it's not clear whether he's floating in the deep end or standing in the shallow. Then there's a picture of a boy on a beach, his pockets bulging with driftwood and colorful shells, looking frustrated that his pockets won't hold the rest of his beachcombing treasures, which lie tantalizingly before him on the sand. The line reads: “I wish you more treasures than pockets.” Most children will feel the better wish would be that he had just the right amount of pockets for his treasures. Some of the wordplay, such as “more can than knot” and “more pause than fast-forward,” will tickle older readers with their accompanying, comical illustrations. The beautifully simple pictures are a sweet, kid- and parent-appealing blend of comic-strip style and fine art; the cast of children depicted is commendably multiethnic.

Although the love comes shining through, the text often confuses in straining for patterned simplicity. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4521-2699-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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