COUSINS

Sin, Confession, and Forgiveness are the dominant themes in this spare tale of a bi-cultural child shuttled between worlds. Though she lives with her widower father and nonreligious grandmother Mimi, after school each day the narrator goes to the extended household of her Abuela Adela for a refacción (snack)—where, fascinated by a statue of Niño Jesús and jealous of cousin Mariana, who is about to make her First Communion, she one day impulsively pockets Abuela’s beautiful rosary. Garay sets the episode in no identifiable country, but the furnishings, decorations, colors, and brown-skinned people in both houses add up to a distinctly southwestern or Hispanic look. A restless night later, the child steals away to a church, where a young priest hears her tale and takes her back to her Abuela’s for a remorseful confession, mild chiding, then hugs and kisses. The tone is earnest, but there is no preaching—and not only will young readers or listeners understand this child’s motives, her religious and family issues are sure to spark reflection and discussion. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-88899-459-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2004

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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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WAITING FOR BABY

One of a four-book series designed to help the very young prepare for new siblings, this title presents a toddler-and-mother pair (the latter heavily pregnant) as they read about new babies, sort hand-me-downs, buy new toys, visit the obstetrician and the sonographer, speculate and wait. Throughout, the child asks questions and makes exclamations with complete enthusiasm: “How big is the baby? What does it eat? I felt it move! Is it a boy or girl?” Fuller’s jolly pictures present a biracial family that thoroughly enjoys every moment together. It’s a bit oversimplified, but no one can complain about the positive message it conveys, appropriately, to its baby and toddler audience. The other titles in the New Baby series are My New Baby (ISBN: 978-1-84643-276-7), Look at Me! (ISBN: 978-1-84643-278-1) and You and Me (ISBN: 978-1-84643-277-4). (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84643-275-0

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2010

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