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Sure to cause a BUZZ in classes, provided the teacher can get through reading it aloud.

Cleary expands his language arts books with this look at onomatopoeia.

Mrs. Garcia’s class is ready and eager for the day: butterfly nets, cameras, notebooks, magnifying glasses, and headwear that includes both deerstalker caps and pith helmets. “One day every year, the students go out on a hunt— / a favorite exercise of Mrs. Garcia— / to search the grounds and school / for something interesting and cool: / it’s what is known as onomatopoeia.” This abccb pattern makes for a tough read-aloud, as the meter and rhythm are off. But Cleary certainly gets points for enthusiasm and establishes himself as a credible contender for the record for most onomatopoeic words in one picture book. Set off in all-caps and a colored display type, each “SNAP,” “CLANG,” “FLUTTER,” and “WHIRR” stands out. The kids, a highly diverse group (two different brown-skinned girls depicted wear the hijab), go through and around the school visiting all the different classrooms and areas and collecting sounds—the gym, the science lab, the farm next door, the music room, even the bathroom (“FLUSH,” “TINKLE!”). But the exuberant book ends on a rather abrupt, even dampening note when the principal, certain the students who are sharing their words so loudly and enthusiastically are misbehaving, gives them one final one for their collection: “SHOOSH!” Pino’s pencil and Photoshop illustration are bright, detailed, and busy. Readers will find lots to pore over.

Sure to cause a BUZZ in classes, provided the teacher can get through reading it aloud. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4677-8799-4

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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Embedded in this heartwarming story of doing the right thing is a deft examination of the pressures of income inequality on...

Continuing from their acclaimed Those Shoes (2007), Boelts and Jones entwine conversations on money, motives, and morality.

This second collaboration between author and illustrator is set within an urban multicultural streetscape, where brown-skinned protagonist Ruben wishes for a bike like his friend Sergio’s. He wishes, but Ruben knows too well the pressure his family feels to prioritize the essentials. While Sergio buys a pack of football cards from Sonny’s Grocery, Ruben must buy the bread his mom wants. A familiar lady drops what Ruben believes to be a $1 bill, but picking it up, to his shock, he discovers $100! Is this Ruben’s chance to get himself the bike of his dreams? In a fateful twist, Ruben loses track of the C-note and is sent into a panic. After finally finding it nestled deep in a backpack pocket, he comes to a sense of moral clarity: “I remember how it was for me when that money that was hers—then mine—was gone.” When he returns the bill to her, the lady offers Ruben her blessing, leaving him with double-dipped emotions, “happy and mixed up, full and empty.” Readers will be pleased that there’s no reward for Ruben’s choice of integrity beyond the priceless love and warmth of a family’s care and pride.

Embedded in this heartwarming story of doing the right thing is a deft examination of the pressures of income inequality on children. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6649-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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Sweet—and savory.

When a girl visits her grandmother, a writer and “grand friend,” she is seeking something special to share at show and tell on the first day of school.

Before Brook can explain, Mimi expresses concern that certain words describing the natural world will disappear if someone doesn’t care for and use them. (An author’s note explains the author’s motivation: She had read of the removal of 100 words about outdoor phenomena from the Oxford Junior Dictionary.) The duo sets out to search for and experience the 19 words on Mimi’s list, from “acorn” and “buttercup” to “violet” and “willow.” Kloepper’s soft illustrations feature green and brown earth tones that frame the white, matte pages; bursts of red, purple, and other spot colors enliven the scenes. Both Mimi and Brook are depicted as white. The expedition is described in vivid language, organized as free verse in single sentences or short paragraphs. Key words are printed in color in a larger display type and capital letters. Sensory details allow the protagonist to hear, see, smell, taste, and hold the wild: “ ‘Quick! Make a wish!’ said Mimi, / holding out a DANDELION, / fairy dust sitting on a stem. / ‘Blow on it and the seeds will fly. / Your tiny wishes in the air.’ ” It’s a day of wonder, with a touch of danger and a solution to Brook’s quest. The last page forms an envelope for readers’ own vocabulary collections.

Sweet—and savory. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7073-2

Page Count: 62

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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