PARTY PROBLEMS

From the Emma Every Day series

A fun, bubbly early reader featuring an endearing Deaf protagonist.

Eight-year-old Emma is worried that being Deaf will make it hard to enjoy her best friend’s party.

In this first entry of Reid’s debut early-reader series, the author introduces Emma, who is white and Deaf, as she nervously gets ready for Izzie’s birthday party. Emma has worries common to all children, like whether her black, hearing best friend will like her gift, as well as the uniquely d/Deaf concern that she won’t understand what anyone says at the party. Izzie and her cousin Sarah, who is white, make sure Emma feels welcome, and she ultimately has a great time. Emma uses both a cochlear implant and American Sign Language. The author refreshingly presents this simply as Emma’s reality, as it is for many Deaf children, and does not set up cochlear implants and signing as mutually exclusive. The cute, simple, big-eyed illustrations show off Emma’s cochlear implant and support the text. The book includes a guide to ASL fingerspelling and a few basic signs as well as fingerspelled words sprinkled throughout the text. These are a fun addition, though it’s too bad there are not working signs included as well, as that would be even more useful to readers who want to learn to use ASL. The backmatter does present some signs relevant to the story as well as a glossary and writing and discussion prompts.

A fun, bubbly early reader featuring an endearing Deaf protagonist. (learn to sign, glossary, write about it, talk about it, about the author, about the illustrator) (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5158-7180-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Picture Window Books

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

TINY T. REX AND THE IMPOSSIBLE HUG

Wins for compassion and for the refusal to let physical limitations hold one back.

With such short arms, how can Tiny T. Rex give a sad friend a hug?

Fleck goes for cute in the simple, minimally detailed illustrations, drawing the diminutive theropod with a chubby turquoise body and little nubs for limbs under a massive, squared-off head. Impelled by the sight of stegosaurian buddy Pointy looking glum, little Tiny sets out to attempt the seemingly impossible, a comforting hug. Having made the rounds seeking advice—the dino’s pea-green dad recommends math; purple, New Age aunt offers cucumber juice (“That is disgusting”); red mom tells him that it’s OK not to be able to hug (“You are tiny, but your heart is big!”), and blue and yellow older sibs suggest practice—Tiny takes up the last as the most immediately useful notion. Unfortunately, the “tree” the little reptile tries to hug turns out to be a pterodactyl’s leg. “Now I am falling,” Tiny notes in the consistently self-referential narrative. “I should not have let go.” Fortunately, Tiny lands on Pointy’s head, and the proclamation that though Rexes’ hugs may be tiny, “I will do my very best because you are my very best friend” proves just the mood-lightening ticket. “Thank you, Tiny. That was the biggest hug ever.” Young audiences always find the “clueless grown-ups” trope a knee-slapper, the overall tone never turns preachy, and Tiny’s instinctive kindness definitely puts him at (gentle) odds with the dinky dino star of Bob Shea’s Dinosaur Vs. series.

Wins for compassion and for the refusal to let physical limitations hold one back. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7033-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

PUG BLASTS OFF

From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 1

Totes adorbs.

A cuddly, squishy pug’s puggy-wuggy diary.

Equipped with both #pugunicorn and #pughotdog outfits, pug Baron von Bubbles (aka Bub) is the kind of dog that always dresses to impress. Bub also makes lots of memorable faces, such as the “Hey, you’re not the boss of me!” expression aimed at Duchess, the snooty pink house cat. Some of Bub’s favorite things include skateboarding, a favorite teddy, and eating peanut butter. Bub also loves Bella, who adopted Bub from a fair—it was “love at first sniff.” Together, Bub and Bella do a lot of arts and crafts. Their latest project: entering Bella’s school’s inventor challenge by making a super-duper awesome rocket. But, when the pesky neighborhood squirrel, Nutz, makes off with Bub’s bear, Bub accidentally ruins their project. How will they win the contest? More importantly, how will Bella ever forgive him? May’s cutesy, full-color cartoon art sets the tone for this pug-tastic romp for the new-to–chapter-books crowd. Emojilike faces accentuate Bub’s already expressive character design. Bub’s infectious first-person narration pushes the silly factor off the charts. In addition to creating the look and feel of a diary, the lined paper helps readers follow the eight-chapter story. Most pages have fewer than five sentences, often broken into smaller sections. Additional text appears in color-coded speech bubbles. Bella presents white.

Totes adorbs. (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53003-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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