Though the focus on sugar is apparent, an underlining theme of balancing nutrition with exercise rounds out the...

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A DAY WITHOUT SUGAR / UN DÍA SIN AZÚCAR

A risk of family diabetes prompts Tía Sofía to teach her nieces and nephews about alternatives to sugar when choosing meals and snacks.

Ten-year-old Tito and his cousins enjoy spending weekends at their aunt’s house, playing board games and watching television. On this weekend, Tía Sofía tells the family that everyone must help Tito eat healthier to avoid developing diabetes like his grandfather and uncle. To do this, they must eliminate as much hidden sugar as possible and eat natural sugars such as those in fruits. Under their aunt’s guidance, the children spend the day analyzing all their meals. They learn, for example, that ketchup and relish include sugar, but fresh tomato and homemade salsa on a hamburger can be healthier and just as delicious. At day’s end, they are surprised with an apple turnover, sans sugar but made with cinnamon, that holds its natural delicious sweetness simply from the juice of the apples. Latino family scenes painted in gouache on textured paper are populated by amiable, brown-skinned characters who seem to enjoy the challenge presented to them. The weekend concludes with the only acceptable sugar treat, a sweet kiss from Tía Sofía.

Though the focus on sugar is apparent, an underlining theme of balancing nutrition with exercise rounds out the purpose-filled story told with a fluent dual English and Spanish text. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 31, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-55885-702-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Piñata Books/Arté Público

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2012

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Patchy work, both visually and teleologically.

YOU'RE HERE FOR A REASON

The sultana of high-fructose sentimentality reminds readers that they really are all that.

Despite the title, we’re actually here for a couple of reasons. In fulsome if vague language Tillman embeds one message, that acts of kindness “may triple for days… / or set things in motion in different ways,” in a conceptually separate proposition that she summarizes thus: “perhaps you forgot— / a piece of the world that is precious and dear / would surely be missing if you weren’t here.” Her illustrations elaborate on both themes in equally abstract terms: a lad releases a red kite that ends up a sled for fox kits, while its ribbons add decorative touches to bird nests and a moose before finally being vigorously twirled by a girl and (startlingly) a pair of rearing tigers. Without transition the focus then shifts as the kite is abruptly replaced by a red ball. Both embodied metaphors, plus children and animals, gather at the end for a closing circle dance. The illustrator lavishes attention throughout on figures of children and wild animals, which are depicted with such microscopically precise realism that every fine hair and feather is visible, but she then floats them slightly above hazy, generic backdrops. The overall design likewise has a slapdash feel, as some spreads look relatively crowded with verses while others bear only a single line or phrase.

Patchy work, both visually and teleologically. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-05626-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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I LOVE MY COLORFUL NAILS

From the Égalité series

A timely look at self-expression.

Kindergarten-age Ben paints his fingernails because he loves their colorful appeal. Unfortunately, not everyone does. While walking to school one morning, Ben is harassed by two other boys: “Painting your nails is for girls. You’re a girl! You’re a girl!” Ben initially internalizes the negative feelings but eventually tells his parents. Although Ben’s father shows solidarity by painting his nails as well, this does not stop the bullying. Ben sadly kowtows to gender conformity and paints his nails only on the weekend, although his father continues to pick him up after school with painted nails. On Ben’s birthday, his entire class surprises him with painted nails, and at recess, they do it again. End of story! Educators and caregivers should prepare themselves for the barrage of logical questions that are sure to follow: Why didn’t Ben’s parents talk to his teacher about the bullying? What happened the next day? Did the bullies learn anything? Books about gender nonconformity are needed, as are titles that celebrate general messages of acceptance, but this story is too superficial and the ending too slapdash to be worth the attention. Gusti’s illustrations, which echo the stylings of Jules Pfeiffer, do little to enhance the text. Most characters appear white, while darker-skinned characters are reduced to background filler only. The book is also available in Spanish.

Skip it. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-84-17123-59-8

Page Count: 36

Publisher: nubeOCHO

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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