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A delightful picture book about dressing—and acting—like a grown-up before your time.

Are you a kid who is ready to be a grown-up?

If so, this book is for you! According to the book’s narrator, the best way to be treated like an adult is to dress like one—and no outfit is more grown-up than a sari. In the following pages, the narrator instructs the protagonist—a plucky, dark-skinned kid with two short pigtails and an impish smile—on everything that must be done to successfully wear this traditional South Asian garment. First, the protagonist chooses the perfect piece of fabric: not too plain, not too fancy, and just sparkly enough. Next, the narrator leads the protagonist through the process of wearing a blouse and petticoat, wrapping the sari, pleating the skirt, and—perhaps most importantly—accessorizing with jewelry. Finally, the protagonist is dressed and ready to show the family this new grown-up persona. Unfortunately, while putting on a sari is a clear process, walking in a sari is not, and the protagonist’s grand entrance is not quite what was imagined. Told in second-person address, this cheerily illustrated picture book is a quirky and affectionate introduction to a typically South Asian rite of passage. The tongue-in-cheek text expertly balances humor with sincerity, and the protagonist’s antics—which are communicated mostly through the expertly paced illustrations—are hilarious. In addition to appealing to young readers, this book will ring true with South Asian adults who tried to fashion their own saris as children. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 36% of actual size.)

A delightful picture book about dressing—and acting—like a grown-up before your time. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: June 22, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-328-63520-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Versify/HMH

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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