Share this one with kids who have very particular tastes.

READ REVIEW

TEDDY SPAGHETTI

On his first day of school, a boy uses his favorite thing in the world to make new friends.

Teddy loves three things: his red cape, his yellow rain boots, and spaghetti, which he could eat all day. Teddy isn’t exactly finicky; he likes “spaghetti with red sauce and meatballs…with white sauce with clams…or even with eggs and bacon!” But today the ordinarily happy kid is feeling a bit unnerved: It’s his first day of school. Mom encourages him to just be himself, and by doing so, he quickly gains new friends. But at lunch, the school bully approaches, hurling the titular epithet. Teddy freezes, but his new friends don’t; they are full of compliments for Teddy’s warm, fabulous spaghetti lunch. Teddy invites them to dig in—there’s plenty. And when Bryan the bully asks in a whisper if he might have some, Teddy even shares with him and tells him he loves his new nickname. In Andriani’s cartoon illustrations, the expressive faces and, appropriately, the spaghetti are especial delights. Teddy and his mother have light skin; his classroom is diverse. This mother-daughter collaboration is sweet but slight and unrealistic. With food allergies on the rise, many schools have banned food sharing, and the ease with which the kids deal with the bully is unbelievable. Moreover, while food-shaming is a depressingly common phenomenon, it is rarely the white kid with spaghetti and marinara sauce who is the target.

Share this one with kids who have very particular tastes. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-291542-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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The true essence of a picture book: a unique balance of visual and written narrative sure to enchant young and old alike.

LITTLE NAOMI, LITTLE CHICK

A delightful depiction of the parallel lives of a young girl and a tiny chick from dawn to dusk.

Preschooler Naomi stretches to greet the day while a picture of a wide-eyed yellow chick looks on passively from the wall behind her bed. Appel’s lithe translation from the Hebrew of Golan’s plain, lightly rhymed verse describes consecutive phases of a typical day in the little girl’s life, with each segment ending with the refrain, “But not Little Chick.” Awakened by her father, Naomi brushes her teeth, eats, goes to preschool, plays, makes art, listens to a story, naps, goes shopping with her mother, puts on her pajamas and eventually hops back into bed with her stuffed bear—“But not Little Chick.” Those following the text alone might think the only thing Little Chick has in common with Naomi is “snuggl[ing] in for the night” and feel a bit sorry for her. But the visual narrative portrayed in Karas’ warmly expressive crayon-and-pencil illustrations on the right side of each spread reveals an equally adventuresome, action-packed day for Little Chick. Pre-readers are sure to revel in the hilarious mischief Little Chick enjoys with barnyard friends, while those reading to them will be fascinated by the effective conveyance of this information through images alone.

The true essence of a picture book: a unique balance of visual and written narrative sure to enchant young and old alike. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5427-8

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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A wry, respectful ode to a rite of passage that’s both commonplace and marvelous. This is one fun ride! (Picture book. 3-6)

EVERYONE CAN LEARN TO RIDE A BICYCLE

A little girl in a ginormous blue-striped helmet chooses a bike, practices lots and, aided by a patient, daddy-esque (perhaps granddaddy-esque) guy in a green tie, learns to ride.

The gentle text (in elegant Bodoni Old Face) offers pithy encouragement. “Let’s go! / Watch everyone ride. / They all learned how. / Come on, let’s give it a try. / Training wheels are helpful. They keep you from tipping over.” Raschka’s watercolors, in a palette of green, blue, gray, ocher and red, convey humor and movement in economical, expressive vignettes. On one spread, the girl gazes at many riders: twins on a tandem bike, a woman in a red swimsuit, a cat riding in a back-fender basket and a man in Hasidic garb, payos flying. On another, no fewer than 11 spots show the girl wobbling and zooming, sans training wheels; the green-tie guy alternately steadies her course and flies behind in pursuit as she improves. The man’s elongated head bows toward the girl in Chagall-like studies of empathy, while her bow-shaped mouth and black braids convey a cute that’s never cloying. Some compositions are encased in softly rounded rectangles; others pop against the creamy matte ground. The paper’s minute gold flecks lend a lovely, subtle sparkle to the bright, thin washes.

A wry, respectful ode to a rite of passage that’s both commonplace and marvelous. This is one fun ride! (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 9, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-87007-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2013

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