A welcome book about the beauty of family, togetherness, and trying new things.

FAMILY REUNION

Aaron is convinced that he will not enjoy the annual family reunion this year and would much rather stay home and play video games. What will it take to make him change his mind?

The Richardsons’ staccato, informal text describes how Aaron deploys his personal “force field” to shield himself, but a whisper and a hug from PopPop welcomes him and puts Aaron in the mood to join in on the fun with his family. He plays games with his cousins and watches his family lovingly gather for jokes, a cook-off, and a dance contest. At one point, Aaron listens to stories about his ancestors, who are represented as brown-outlined drawings without color, and he marvels that his family is “all over / the world.” After the family attends church together the next day, they begin to say their goodbyes and head home, leaving Aaron happy to have spent time with them and eager for their reunion next year—force field–free. This warm story highlights the tradition of African American family reunions, and Corrin’s loose, stylized illustrations capture both the love these extended family members share and their diversity in skin tone and hairstyle. Readers of many backgrounds will relate to Aaron’s initial reluctance to do something he would rather not do—and the joy of having overcome it.

A welcome book about the beauty of family, togetherness, and trying new things. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64686-218-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Barefoot

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021

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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.

WHY A DAUGHTER NEEDS A MOM

All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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This silly take on role reversal will have preschoolers and early-elementary children plotting their own babysitting jobs.

HOW TO BABYSIT A GRANDMA

From the How To... series

Reagan and Wildish create a humorous follow-up how-to tale in this companion to How to Babysit a Grandpa (2012).

“When you babysit a grandma, if you’re lucky…it’s a sleepover at her house.” A committed, pigtailed girl is excited to take on this huge responsibility. A narrative set in conventional black type explains the pacing of the day, and a more informal purple style is utilized for notes or lists of ideas to be considered by a babysitter. The book has a busy look, with some pages containing multiple vignettes showcasing the duo’s visit to the park or playing inside, while other, double-page spreads allow readers’ eyes to linger on the pair’s quieter moments, such as when they eat dinner, gaze at the stars or make shadow puppets on the wall. Parents and children alike will giggle at all the things the granddaughter has planned, along with her helpful pointers. Foods do taste “yummier” with sprinkles, and shouting “Ta-dah!” does make someone feel special after they have dressed up. After a jam-packed day of fun, morning comes and with it, “the hardest part: goodbye time.”

This silly take on role reversal will have preschoolers and early-elementary children plotting their own babysitting jobs. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 25, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-75384-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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