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A pleasant if imperfect celebration of a grandfather-granddaughter relationship and an introduction to the game of golf.

A day for tea or a day to tee (off)?

Hippopotami Frannie and Grandy, her grandfather, are both preparing for an outing, though each has a different type in mind. Frannie heard tea, so she packs up a picnic lunch, blanket, and tea set. Grandy understood tee, so he collects clubs, balls, shoes, bug spray, and sunblock with the intention of teaching Frannie how to play golf. The mutual misconception continues until the warmly illustrated duo arrive at the golf course and Frannie rushes to a green to spread out her blanket and meal, which is demolished by a driven ball. Unperturbed, the two seamlessly change things up and simply go to the clubhouse for tea and continue their afternoon with a game of minigolf, which Frannie comes to love. Readers are left to their own devices to figure out the mix-up, as there is no obvious moment of recognition by either Frannie or Grandy of their miscommunication, which seems a lost opportunity to introduce at least the idea of homonyms. Moreover, readers don’t get to see Grandy switching gears, which could have added some humor. Still the pair’s loving companionship rings true, and young readers may enjoy figuring out the problem themselves (perhaps with some help). (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A pleasant if imperfect celebration of a grandfather-granddaughter relationship and an introduction to the game of golf. (glossary) (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4108-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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From the Izzy Gizmo series

A disappointing follow-up.

Inventor Izzy Gizmo is back in this sequel to her eponymous debut (2017).

While busily inventing one day, Izzy receives an invitation from the Genius Guild to their annual convention. Though Izzy’s “inventions…don’t always work,” Grandpa (apparently her sole caregiver) encourages her to go. The next day they undertake a long journey “over fields, hills, and waves” and “mile after mile” to isolated Technoff Isle. There, Izzy finds she must compete against four other kids to create the most impressive machine. The colorful, detail-rich illustrations chronicle how poor Izzy is thwarted at every turn by Abi von Lavish, a Veruca Salt–esque character who takes all the supplies for herself. But when Abi abandons her project, Izzy salvages the pieces and decides to take Grandpa’s advice to create a machine that “can really be put to good use.” A frustrated Izzy’s impatience with a friend almost foils her chance at the prize, but all’s well that ends well. There’s much to like: Brown-skinned inventor girl Izzy is an appealing character, it’s great to see a nurturing brown-skinned male caregiver, the idea of an “Invention Convention” is fun, and a sustainable-energy invention is laudable. However, these elements don’t make up for rhymes that often feel forced and a lackluster story.

A disappointing follow-up. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68263-164-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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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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