CHILDREN AROUND THE WORLD

Montanari (Look Inside a Computer, not reviewed, etc.) takes readers on a bland but not entirely superficial world tour, inventing more than a dozen children in as many countries who step forward to introduce themselves: “Hi! I’m Malaika from Tanzania. I live in Tanzania, in East Africa. It is always hot here in my village. I speak Swahili at home. I like to wear colorful clothes . . .” No individual character comes through, either in the text or in the sunny paper collage portraits, but several speakers comment on the mix of modern and traditional culture in their worlds. “My mother wears pants and sweaters,” observes Sadako from Japan, “but my grandmother wears kimonos,” and Adam from Canada speaks Inuktitut at home, while at school, “my class is making a Web site.” Clean, smiling, well dressed, and evidently leading settled, secure lives, these children aren’t telling the whole story by any means. Still, readers not yet able to cope with the level of information in DK’s Children Just Like Me (1995) will absorb at least the idea that young people in distant lands live lives that are different in some ways, similar in others. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-55337-064-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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Fun, fun, fun all through the town! (Picture book. 4-6)

THE HIPS ON THE DRAG QUEEN GO SWISH, SWISH, SWISH

This book’s gonna werk, werk, werk all through Pride Month and beyond.

Drag persona Lil Miss Hot Mess rewrites “The Wheels on the Bus” to create a fun, movement-filled, family-friendly celebration of drag. The text opens with the titular verse to establish the familiar song’s formulaic pattern: “The hips on the drag queen go SWISH, SWISH, SWISH… / ALL THROUGH THE TOWN!” Along the way, more and more drag queens join in the celebration. The unnamed queens proudly display a range of skin tones, sizes, and body modifications to create a diverse cast of realistic characters that could easily be spotted at a Pride event or on RuPaul’s Drag Race. The palette of both costumes and backgrounds is appropriately psychedelic, and there are plenty of jewels going “BLING, BLING, BLING.” Don’t tell the queens, but the flow is the book’s real star, because it encourages natural kinetic participation that will have groups of young readers giggling and miming along with the story. Libraries and bookshops hosting drag-queen storytimes will find this a popular choice, and those celebrating LGBTQ heritage will also find this a useful book for the pre-K crowd. Curious children unfamiliar with a drag queen may require a brief explanation, but the spectacle stands up just fine on its own platforms.

Fun, fun, fun all through the town! (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6765-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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THE TALE OF HILDA LOUISE

Her parents having ``disappeared in the Swiss Alps,'' Hilda Louise lives with the other 109 residents of the affectionately named ``Chez Mez Petits Choux orphanage at 97, rue Saint-Julien-le- Pauvre, Paris.'' Through no particular longing or design of her own, Hilda Louise develops a ``newfound talent''—floating. One day she's simply swept away, escaping the boredom of the orphanage (``Already she had embroidered 2,357 handkerchiefs''), floating over a field where a painter has set up his easel, past the spires of Notre Dame, into the open window of the painter's studio. The painter turns out to be none other than her long-lost uncle. Hilda Louise gets a new home, while back at the orphanage another child hovers overhead. Dunrea (The Painter Who Loved Chickens, 1995, etc.) has created a tartly written fantasy that lacks any sense of motivation, but the paintings are among his finest ever. Like Madeline-through-the-looking-glass, the scenes are precise and magical at the same time. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 1996

ISBN: 0-374-37380-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1996

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