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EWE AND AYE

Lots of fun.

A sporty sheep and an equally sporty primate find a way to realize a common aspiration: to fly. 

New readers will find the homophones appealing and the brief text amusing. “Ewe and Aye were different. / Ewe loved wheels, and Aye loved wings.” Though the jacket notes will have to be consulted to understand that Aye is an aye-aye lemur (and perhaps to learn a ewe is a female sheep), once that is established, the resulting wordplay is pretty funny. Ryan’s punning is nicely expanded in Ruble’s zippy illustrations. Ewe seems quite nimble and Aye quite jolly, with their sneakered feet and round goggles making them look like kindred spirits. Ruble's rich, flat colors and simple, solid cartoon shapes are appropriately comical and keep the action going. The two communicate their plan in pictographs. A double gatefold offers a chance to show the two splendidly aloft among bubbly clouds: “…there’s nowhere Aye and Ewe can’t fly,” though the first part of that sentence (“And now together”) is positioned awkwardly on the right side of the closed page opening. And their exuberant shout of “Weeeeeeeeee!” seems to break the homonymic theme, though it works anyway. Young readers may want to turn right back to the beginning to see how all the silliness fits together so neatly.

Lots of fun. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 9, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7591-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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IZZY GIZMO AND THE INVENTION CONVENTION

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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RUBY FINDS A WORRY

From the Big Bright Feelings series

A valuable asset to the library of a child who experiences anxiety and a great book to get children talking about their...

Ruby is an adventurous and happy child until the day she discovers a Worry.

Ruby barely sees the Worry—depicted as a blob of yellow with a frowny unibrow—at first, but as it hovers, the more she notices it and the larger it grows. The longer Ruby is affected by this Worry, the fewer colors appear on the page. Though she tries not to pay attention to the Worry, which no one else can see, ignoring it prevents her from enjoying the things that she once loved. Her constant anxiety about the Worry causes the bright yellow blob to crowd Ruby’s everyday life, which by this point is nearly all washes of gray and white. But at the playground, Ruby sees a boy sitting on a bench with a growing sky-blue Worry of his own. When she invites the boy to talk, his Worry begins to shrink—and when Ruby talks about her own Worry, it also grows smaller. By the book’s conclusion, Ruby learns to control her Worry by talking about what worries her, a priceless lesson for any child—or adult—conveyed in a beautifully child-friendly manner. Ruby presents black, with hair in cornrows and two big afro-puff pigtails, while the boy has pale skin and spiky black hair.

A valuable asset to the library of a child who experiences anxiety and a great book to get children talking about their feelings (. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0237-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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