A cute read for any family that is missing out on sports (or needs a change-up in their bedtime reading).

HUDDLE UP! CUDDLE UP!

There’s nothing that brings a family together with excitement and energy quite like sports.

This bedtime routine is anything but boring as the coaches (also known as parents) help their kids get ready for bed. As soon as the family enters the house it is a rush to complete the sports-themed Sunday-night bedtime routine. Each page incorporates sport terms and, often, football plays as they hustle. They need to get clothes from the laundry (Dad hikes an armful through his legs to an enthusiastic youngster), brush their teeth (in unison, to a stopwatch), take a bath (which begins like a Gatorade dunk), and of course tidy up (all in record time, of course). The family dog even plays a special part in making sure the team gets the ball over the goal line—watch out for “unnecessary ruffness.” Sports fans will love the idea of gathering the family together for a “Story-Time-Out” as they settle their children for a nap or at night. Most of the sports terms incorporated are football-related, but an occasional basketball or hockey term helps keep up the frantic pace. Deas’ movement-filled cartoons depict a Black-appearing mom, a White-appearing dad, their two brown-skinned kids, and a shaggy black mutt making happy mayhem in this comfortable, middle-class home. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-16-inch double-page spreads viewed at 41.3% of actual size.)

A cute read for any family that is missing out on sports (or needs a change-up in their bedtime reading). (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-11562-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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There’s always tomorrow.

TOMORROW IS WAITING

A lyrical message of perseverance and optimism.

The text uses direct address, which the title- and final-page illustrations suggest comes from an adult voice, to offer inspiration and encouragement. The opening spreads reads, “Tonight as you sleep, a new day stirs. / Each kiss good night is a wish for tomorrow,” as the accompanying art depicts a child with black hair and light skin asleep in a bed that’s fantastically situated in a stylized landscape of buildings, overpasses, and roadways. The effect is dreamlike, in contrast with the next illustration, of a child of color walking through a field and blowing dandelion fluff at sunrise. Until the last spread, each child depicted in a range of settings is solitary. Some visual metaphors falter in terms of credibility, as in the case of a white-appearing child using a wheelchair in an Antarctic ice cave strewn with obstacles, as the text reads “you’ll explore the world, only feeling lost in your imagination.” Others are oblique in attempted connections between text and art. How does a picture of a pale-skinned, black-haired child on a bridge in the rain evoke “first moments that will dance with you”? But the image of a child with pink skin and brown hair scaling a wall as text reads “there will be injustice that will challenge you, and it will surprise you how brave you can be” is clearer.

There’s always tomorrow. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-101-99437-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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Not astonishingly go-out-and-buy-it-at-graduation inspirational, but all it takes is one seed of change to be planted.

GOING PLACES

Imagination soars—quite literally—when a little girl follows her own set of rules.

Every year Oak Hill School has a go-kart race called the Going Places contest. Students are given identical go-kart kits with a precise set of instructions. And of course, every single kart ends up exactly the same. Every one, that is, except Maya’s. Maya is a dreamy artist, and she would rather sketch birds in her backyard than get caught up in the competition. When she finally does start working, she uses the parts in the go-kart box but creates something completely different. No one ever said it had to be a go-kart. Maya’s creative thinking inspires Rafael, her neighbor (and the most enthusiastic Going Places contestant), to ask to team up. The instructions never say they couldn’t work together, either! An ode to creativity and individuality to be sure, but the Reynolds brothers are also taking a swipe at modern education: Endless repetition and following instructions without question create a culture of conformity. Hopefully now, readers will see infinite possibility every time the system hands them an identical go-kart box.

Not astonishingly go-out-and-buy-it-at-graduation inspirational, but all it takes is one seed of change to be planted. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-6608-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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