Here’s hoping Little Pig will take his time growing up and gift readers with a few more tales of being smallest.

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LITTLE PIG SAVES THE SHIP

Little Pig’s still too small to do everything his brothers and sisters do…but it turns out that’s not a problem.

Little Pig’s four older siblings are going to sailing camp, but Little Pig’s not old enough. Eldest sibling Tiny gives him a rope to practice knots, but one whole day of tying knots is enough. Thankfully, Poppy and Grandpa come over, and Poppy brings a model ship he’s carving. Little Pig helps Poppy finish the ship. They sail it on Monday and Tuesday and in the rain on Wednesday. They build a dock Thursday and sail it all the way across the river Friday. On Saturday it gets away from them and goes over a waterfall in a dramatic sequence that’s perfectly gauged for the audience. Poppy can’t catch it. Little Pig runs to the bridge, remembers the rope Tiny gave him, and makes use of those knots he practiced. He saves the day just in time to share sailing stories with all his siblings, home from camp. Costello’s second title starring Little Pig’s as charming as his earlier Little Pig Joins the Band (2011). The inviting watercolor-and-ink illustrations are a well-paced mix of full-bleed, spot, and cartoon panels dotted with speech bubbles that illuminate the close, intergenerational relationship between Little Pig and Poppy. Young listeners will identify with being too little but still quite capable.

Here’s hoping Little Pig will take his time growing up and gift readers with a few more tales of being smallest. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-58089-715-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

I AM ENOUGH

A feel-good book about self-acceptance.

Empire star Byers and Bobo offer a beautifully illustrated, rhyming picture book detailing what one brown-skinned little girl with an impressive Afro appreciates about herself. Relying on similes, the text establishes a pattern with the opening sentence, “Like the sun, I’m here to shine,” and follows it through most of the book. Some of them work well, while others fall flat: “Like the rain, I’m here to pour / and drip and fall until I’m full.” In some vignettes she’s by herself; and in others, pictured along with children of other races. While the book’s pro-diversity message comes through, the didactic and even prideful expressions of self-acceptance make the book exasperatingly preachy—a common pitfall for books by celebrity authors. In contrast, Bobo’s illustrations are visually stunning. After painting the children and the objects with which they interact, such as flowers, books, and a red wagon, in acrylic on board for a traditional look, she scanned the images into Adobe Photoshop and added the backgrounds digitally in chalk. This lends a whimsical feel to such details as a rainbow, a window, wind, and rain—all reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Bobo creates an inclusive world of girls in which wearing glasses, using a wheelchair, wearing a head scarf, and having a big Afro are unconditionally accepted rather than markers for othering.

A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266712-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force.

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LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET

A young boy yearns for what he doesn’t have, but his nana teaches him to find beauty in what he has and can give, as well as in the city where they live.

CJ doesn’t want to wait in the rain or take the bus or go places after church. But through Nana’s playful imagination and gentle leadership, he begins to see each moment as an opportunity: Trees drink raindrops from straws; the bus breathes fire; and each person has a story to tell. On the bus, Nana inspires an impromptu concert, and CJ’s lifted into a daydream of colors and light, moon and magic. Later, when walking past broken streetlamps on the way to the soup kitchen, CJ notices a rainbow and thinks of his nana’s special gift to see “beautiful where he never even thought to look.” Through de la Peña’s brilliant text, readers can hear, feel and taste the city: its grit and beauty, its quiet moments of connectedness. Robinson’s exceptional artwork works with it to ensure that readers will fully understand CJ’s journey toward appreciation of the vibrant, fascinating fabric of the city. Loosely defined patterns and gestures offer an immediate and raw quality to the Sasek-like illustrations. Painted in a warm palette, this diverse urban neighborhood is imbued with interest and possibility.

This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-25774-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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