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

PARTY PROBLEMS

From the Emma Every Day series

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 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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Doubles down on a basic math concept with a bit of character development.

DOUBLE PUPPY TROUBLE

From the McKellar Math series

A child who insists on having MORE of everything gets MORE than she can handle.

Demanding young Moxie Jo is delighted to discover that pushing the button on a stick she finds in the yard doubles anything she points to. Unfortunately, when she points to her puppy, Max, the button gets stuck—and in no time one dog has become two, then four, then eight, then….Readers familiar with the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” or Tomie dePaola’s Strega Nona will know how this is going to go, and Masse obliges by filling up succeeding scenes with burgeoning hordes of cute yellow puppies enthusiastically making a shambles of the house. McKellar puts an arithmetical spin on the crisis—“The number of pups exponentially grew: / They each multiplied times a factor of 2!” When clumsy little brother Clark inadvertently intervenes, Moxie Jo is left wiser about her real needs (mostly). An appended section uses lemons to show how exponential doubling quickly leads to really big numbers. Stuart J. Murphy’s Double the Ducks (illustrated by Valeria Petrone, 2002) in the MathStart series explores doubling from a broader perspective and includes more backmatter to encourage further study, but this outing adds some messaging: Moxie Jo’s change of perspective may give children with sharing issues food for thought. She and her family are White; her friends are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Doubles down on a basic math concept with a bit of character development. (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: July 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-101-93386-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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Accessible, reassuring and hopeful.

THE INVISIBLE BOY

This endearing picture book about a timid boy who longs to belong has an agenda but delivers its message with great sensitivity.

Brian wants to join in but is overlooked, even ostracized, by his classmates. Readers first see him alone on the front endpapers, drawing in chalk on the ground. The school scenarios are uncomfortably familiar: High-maintenance children get the teacher’s attention; team captains choose kickball players by popularity and athletic ability; chatter about birthday parties indicates they are not inclusive events. Tender illustrations rendered in glowing hues capture Brian’s isolation deftly; compared to the others and his surroundings, he appears in black and white. What saves Brian is his creativity. As he draws, Brian imagines amazing stories, including a poignant one about a superhero with the power to make friends. When a new boy takes some ribbing, it is Brian who leaves an illustrated note to make him feel better. The boy does not forget this gesture. It only takes one person noticing Brian for the others to see his talents have value; that he has something to contribute. Brian’s colors pop. In the closing endpapers, Brian’s classmates are spread around him on the ground, “wearing” his chalk-drawn wings and capes. Use this to start a discussion: The author includes suggested questions and recommended reading lists for adults and children.

Accessible, reassuring and hopeful. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-582-46450-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2013

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