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A self-affirming tale with limited appeal.

Actor Kruger embraces her unusual name and bestows her daughter with a name with special significance.

To many, the name Diane doesn’t sound odd, but when the author was growing up in Germany, it didn’t “sound German at all, like Anna, Lena, or Heidi.” In this picture book, Kruger reminisces about the meaning of her name and how she came to appreciate it. Delicately drawn illustrations with a light watercolor wash first depict a young, blond, White-presenting Diane in red patchwork overalls with her blue-kerchiefed pet bunny, Benny. To escape childhood taunting, Diane reads to Benny as Puss in Boots, Little Red Riding Hood, and other fairy-tale characters look on. When her mother explains she was named for a goddess, presumably the Roman goddess Diana, “a fearless huntress, strong-willed, with magical powers,” young Diane begins to wonder what her own special powers will be. After she and her mother travel to London, depicted with diverse citizens, and Diane sees a play for the first time, she realizes her gift is storytelling. Adult readers, especially fans of Kruger, will recognize illustrated scenes from several of her movies. She concludes with a tribute to her daughter and the distinct name she gave her and asks children to ponder their own names and powers. Though the art is attractive, overall, this quiet, understated tale will resonate more with caregiving readers than with children. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A self-affirming tale with limited appeal. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-66265-091-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: minedition

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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A delightful story of love and hope.

Families are formed everywhere—including large metropolitan mass-transit systems!

Baby Kevin, initially known as “Danny ACE Doe,” was found in the New York City’s 14th Street subway station, which serves the A-C-E lines, by one of his future fathers, Danny. Kevin’s other father, Pete (author Mercurio), serves as the narrator, explaining how the two men came to add the newborn to their family. Readers are given an abridged version of the story from Danny and Pete’s point of view as they work to formally adopt Kevin and bring him home in time for Christmas. The story excels at highlighting the determination of loving fathers while still including realistic moments of hesitation, doubt, and fear that occur for new and soon-to-be parents. The language is mindful of its audience (for example using “piggy banks” instead of “bank accounts” to discuss finances) while never patronizing young readers. Espinosa’s posterlike artwork—which presents the cleanest New York readers are ever likely to see—extends the text and makes use of unexpected angles to heighten emotional scenes and moments of urgency. The diversity of skin tones, ages, and faces (Danny and Pete both present white, and Kevin has light brown skin) befits the Big Apple. Family snapshots and a closing author’s note emphasize that the most important thing in any family is love. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11.3-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 43% of actual size.)

A delightful story of love and hope. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-42754-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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A supplemental rather than introductory book on the great artist.

Frida Kahlo’s strong affection for and identification with animals form the lens through which readers view her life and work in this picture-book biography.

Each two-page spread introduces one or more of her pets, comparing her characteristics to theirs and adding biographical details. Confusingly for young readers, the beginning pages reference pets she owned as an adult, yet the illustrations and events referred to come from earlier in her life. Bonito the parrot perches in a tree overlooking young Frida and her family in her childhood home and pops up again later, just before the first mention of Diego Rivera. Granizo, the fawn, another pet from her adult years, is pictured beside a young Frida and her father along with a description of “her life as a little girl.” The author’s note adds important details about Kahlo’s life and her significance as an artist, as well as recommending specific paintings that feature her beloved animals. Expressive acrylic paintings expertly evoke Kahlo’s style and color palette. While young animal lovers will identify with her attachment to her pets and may enjoy learning about the Aztec origins of her Xolo dogs and the meaning of turkeys in ancient Mexico, the book may be of most interest to those who already have an interest in Kahlo’s life.

A supplemental rather than introductory book on the great artist. (Picture book/biography. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4269-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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