A delightful look at a what-if all children have considered, if not acted upon.

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THE BEST MOTHER

Maxine searches for a new mother…and discovers the best one has been with her all along.

Maxine hates the morning routine of washing face, brushing teeth, and combing hair. “Maxine was sure a new mother would solve her problems.” So she informs her mother of her plan to look for a new mom in the park, at the toy store, and at the zoo. But since she can’t get to those places on her own, she asks her old mother to accompany her. Unperturbed, the old mother agrees, and readers with sharp eyes will see her as a constant presence keeping an eye on Maxine as she asks various women how they would respond in certain situations: cleanup time, drum-banging, wearing slippers in the snow, toy purchases. After each potential mother’s response, she is summarily rejected. At the zoo, Maxine observes the animals with their babies, thought bubbles showing her own mother doing similar things with Maxine. A couple of page turns reveal that her old mother has done all the things the prospective new mothers scoffed at, and Maxine knows just which mother is perfect for her. Goode’s pen-and-ink, watercolor, gouache, and pastel illustrations emphasize relationships and emotions. Maxine and her mother both have brown skin and hair: Mom’s is straight, while Maxine’s is unruly, curls sprouting energetically from her head and beneath her hat.

A delightful look at a what-if all children have considered, if not acted upon. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2534-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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Positively refreshing.

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HAIR LOVE

A black girl helps her dad learn how to give her the perfect hairstyle for a very special day.

Zuri’s voluminous head of hair “has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way.” She is pictured asleep with a large Afro framing her face. She is proud of her hair, which she sometimes wears in braids with beads like a princess and other times in pigtail puffs. But today is a special day. She knows Daddy is “worn-out” and probably needs a break, so she lets him sleep in while she looks up hairstyles on a tablet. When Daddy wakes and offers to help, he tries a series of hairstyles that just don’t work. Finally, Zuri grabs some hair supplies and shows him a tutorial. “Watching carefully… / Daddy combed, / parted, oiled, and twisted. / He nailed it!” Zuri is lovely and happy with her freshly done hairstyle, and when Mommy arrives to their “Welcome Home” sign, she loves Zuri’s look too. The digital illustrations feature details that feel just right: Zuri’s thick, textured hair, Daddy’s locs and tattoo, and dark-skinned Mom’s bright headwrap. While it’s unclear where Mommy is returning from (she is dressed casually and has a rolling black suitcase), this authentic depiction of a loving and whole black family broadens the scope of representation.

Positively refreshing. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55336-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kokila

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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A good choice for just those days when Mom and Dad do go away and leave their children in charge of Grandpa.

HOW TO BABYSIT A GRANDPA

From the How To... series

Reagan’s second outing is a tongue-in-cheek reversal of roles as a young boy instructs readers on how best to entertain and care for a grandpa while Mom and Dad are away.

First, he instructs them to hide when Grandpa rings the doorbell—resist the wiggles and giggles, and only pop out when he gives up. Then, reassure him that Mom and Dad will be back and distract him with a snack—heavy on the ice cream, cookies, ketchup and olives. Throughout the day, the narrator takes his grandpa for a walk, entertains him, plays with him, puts him down for a nap and encourages him to clean up before Mom and Dad’s return. Lists on almost every spread give readers a range of ideas for things to try, provided their grandfathers are not diabetic or arthritic, or have high blood pressure or a heart condition. These lists also provide Wildish with lots of fodder for his vignette illustrations. His digital artwork definitely focuses on the humor, with laugh-out-loud scenes and funny hidden details. And his characters’ expressive faces also help to fill in the grandfather-grandson relationship that Reagan's deadpan narrative leaves unstated.

A good choice for just those days when Mom and Dad do go away and leave their children in charge of Grandpa. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-375-86713-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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