CAVEKID BIRTHDAY

Breisacher and Garrigue explore the timeless fun of gift exchange.

Neighbors Caveboy and Cavegirl are best friends who do everything together. The pair shares interests in pet racing, stone tossing, painting on walls—a joy shared by all children since the very beginning of time—as well as their birthday. As it approaches, Cavegirl becomes frantic to make the perfect gift, but a mishap involving her pet bear sends her to Caveman’s Collectibles to pick out the perfect present. Since money has yet to be invented, Cavegirl trades her tools for a box. Caveboy also considers the perfect gift before trading his precious rocks for…a box. The two best friends make the best of their gifts, but eventually it’s back to Caveman’s Collectibles for another trade. In exchange for their things, they do some gnarly interior decorating for Caveman—money may not have been invented yet, but paint, ladders, and balloons are readily available! The scratchy line-and-color illustrations share an aesthetic with The Flintstones, with the uniformly pale-skinned characters sporting hide clothing and bone accessories. The message will resonate with generations of readers—the simplicity of a box combined with imagination crosses time and gender. However, the protagonists’ binary names are not inclusive of gender fluidity. The faux primitive grammar (“Me like….Trade good”) gives character to the dialogue but may also confuse emerging readers.

Book sweet . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-58089-876-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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A touching, beautifully illustrated story of greatest interest to those in the New York City area.

RED AND LULU

A pair of cardinals is separated and then reunited when their tree home is moved to New York City to serve as the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

The male cardinal, Red, and his female partner, Lulu, enjoy their home in a huge evergreen tree located in the front yard of a small house in a pleasant neighborhood. When the tree is cut down and hauled away on a truck, Lulu is still inside the tree. Red follows the truck into the city but loses sight of it and gets lost. The birds are reunited when Red finds the tree transformed with colored lights and serving as the Christmas tree in a complex of city buildings. When the tree is removed after Christmas, the birds find a new home in a nearby park. Each following Christmas, the pair visit the new tree erected in the same location. Attractive illustrations effectively handle some difficult challenges of dimension and perspective and create a glowing, magical atmosphere for the snowy Christmas trees. The original owners of the tree are a multiracial family with two children; the father is African-American and the mother is white. The family is in the background in the early pages, reappearing again skating on the rink at Rockefeller Center with their tree in the background.

A touching, beautifully illustrated story of greatest interest to those in the New York City area. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7733-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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A celebration of letters that gently gives young readers the knowledge and tools to share the love.

HOW TO SEND A HUG

Hugs are for everyone anytime they need a little extra love, but how can you hug a person who lives far away?

Talking on the phone or via computer isn’t enough, but luckily Artie shares a way to send a hug—by writing a letter. Infused with the love a hug carries, these step-by-step instructions begin with finding the right writing implement and paper and taking plenty of time for this important task. The story then follows the letter’s journey from the mail drop through a variety of possible transports (“by two legs and four legs, by four wheels and two wheels”) to the magic of delivery and the even greater joy of getting a reply. Readers as lucky as Artie will receive a return letter that carries the scent of its writer, like Grandma Gertie’s missive, filled with rose petals. Fun wording, like putting the letter in a “special jacket to keep it safe and warm” (an envelope), sticking “a ticket” on the envelope “in just the right spot” (a stamp), and the letter being picked up by a “Hug Delivery Specialist” (postal worker), adds humor, as does Artie’s ever present pet duck. Artie and Grandma Gertie present White; the postal workers and the other people depicted receiving letters throughout are racially and geographically diverse. The realistic illustrations in pencil, watercolor, and digital color expand the story and add a layer of love and humor. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A celebration of letters that gently gives young readers the knowledge and tools to share the love. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-30692-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2022

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