A solid, positive animal tale for budding environmentalists.

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Two young girls help sea turtles by collecting plastic from the ocean in this debut picture book.

Sadie and Josie—two blond, blue-eyed White girls who appear to be preschoolers—live on a sailboat. After a windy night, their sea turtle friend, Fig, asks them for help: “Holy anchovies! There’s trouble in Jellyfish Alley!” After enlisting their parents, the girls dive down to discover the problem. The wind sent too many plastic grocery bags into the water, and the sea turtles are mistaking them for jellyfish. The girls and their mother help free the turtles and collect the garbage. Not stopping with solving the immediate problem, the family tackles the larger issue, making signs to get the community involved and writing letters to legislators. Based on the true story of Williamson’s trash-collecting efforts with her daughters (the real Sadie and Josie), the book includes a thank-you note from the girls to all the readers who help out. The author helpfully provides action items for readers unsure about how to start. But the simple text is at times a little too whimsical. The sea turtles all speak English, and the girls can talk underwater, both of which undermine the realistic message. But Holovchenko’s gorgeous paintings reaffirm the realism in her detailed turtles and wildlife. Newly independent readers will only find a few challenging words. In addition, there are plenty of clues in the pictures to help them figure out the story.

A solid, positive animal tale for budding environmentalists.

Pub Date: Nov. 16, 2022

ISBN: 978-1662932489

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Island Writer Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 23, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023


A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies.

Pigeon finds something better to drive than some old bus.

This time it’s Santa delivering the fateful titular words, and with a “Ho. Ho. Whoa!” the badgering begins: “C’mon! Where’s your holiday spirit? It would be a Christmas MIRACLE! Don’t you want to be part of a Christmas miracle…?” Pigeon is determined: “I can do Santa stuff!” Like wrapping gifts (though the accompanying illustration shows a rather untidy present), delivering them (the image of Pigeon attempting to get an oversize sack down a chimney will have little ones giggling), and eating plenty of cookies. Alas, as Willems’ legion of young fans will gleefully predict, not even Pigeon’s by-now well-honed persuasive powers (“I CAN BE JOLLY!”) will budge the sleigh’s large and stinky reindeer guardian. “BAH. Also humbug.” In the typically minimalist art, the frustrated feathered one sports a floppily expressive green and red elf hat for this seasonal addition to the series—but then discards it at the end for, uh oh, a pair of bunny ears. What could Pigeon have in mind now? “Egg delivery, anyone?”

A stocking stuffer par excellence, just right for dishing up with milk and cookies. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2023

ISBN: 9781454952770

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Union Square Kids

Review Posted Online: Sept. 12, 2023


Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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