A delightful demonstration of just one of many things not to take to the beach; the brainstorming possibilities are endless.

READ REVIEW

IF YOU EVER WANT TO BRING A PIANO TO THE BEACH, DON'T!

From the Magnolia Says Don't! series

The voice of experience (about alligators at school) this time deals with her inability to leave her beloved piano at home while visiting the beach.

Using her gift of hindsight, Magnolia clarifies for readers that “if your mom says to get ready to play at the beach, she means with a boat, or a Frisbee, or a shovel. / She is not talking about the piano.” Nonetheless, her mom doesn’t forbid it; she just tells her not to lose it. Once the piano is at the beach (a feat in and of itself) and it’s been tested to make sure it still works, Magnolia’s account quickly become reminiscent of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, one thing leading to another. Her lunch break attracts some gulls, the gulls poop, and therefore it’s time for a bath. (!) And the scallop shell she comes home with? It makes a great boat, a solid Frisbee, and a nifty shovel, but it ain’t a piano. Magnolia’s voice is wonderfully childlike, describing how “your legs will get draggy” while pushing the piano to the beach, but her facial expressions top all, perfectly capturing both her exuberance and her mood swings. In the digital illustrations, Magnolia could be Asian (or maybe Latina); her mother and little brother are white, and she has a black baby sister.

A delightful demonstration of just one of many things not to take to the beach; the brainstorming possibilities are endless. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-316-37659-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Sincere and wholehearted.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

I PROMISE

The NBA star offers a poem that encourages curiosity, integrity, compassion, courage, and self-forgiveness.

James makes his debut as a children’s author with a motivational poem touting life habits that children should strive for. In the first-person narration, he provides young readers with foundational self-esteem encouragement layered within basketball descriptions: “I promise to run full court and show up each time / to get right back up and let my magic shine.” While the verse is nothing particularly artful, it is heartfelt, and in her illustrations, Mata offers attention-grabbing illustrations of a diverse and enthusiastic group of children. Scenes vary, including classrooms hung with student artwork, an asphalt playground where kids jump double Dutch, and a gym populated with pint-sized basketball players, all clearly part of one bustling neighborhood. Her artistry brings black and brown joy to the forefront of each page. These children evince equal joy in learning and in play. One particularly touching double-page spread depicts two vignettes of a pair of black children, possibly siblings; in one, they cuddle comfortably together, and in the other, the older gives the younger a playful noogie. Adults will appreciate the closing checklist of promises, which emphasize active engagement with school. A closing note very generally introduces principles that underlie the Lebron James Family Foundation’s I Promise School (in Akron, Ohio). (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 15% of actual size.)

Sincere and wholehearted. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-297106-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

A predictable ballet tale for die-hard Copeland fans or as an introduction to Coppélia.

BUNHEADS

A young ballerina takes on her first starring role.

Young Misty has just begun taking ballet when her teacher announces auditions for the classic ballet Coppélia. Misty listens spellbound as Miss Bradley tells the story of the toymaker who creates a doll so lifelike it threatens to steal a boy’s heart away from his betrothed, Swanilda. Paired with a kind classmate, Misty works hard to perfect the steps and wins the part she’s wanted all along: Swanilda. As the book closes, Misty and her fellow dancers take their triumphant opening-night bows. Written in third person, the narrative follows a linear structure, but the storyline lacks conflict and therefore urgency. It functions more as an introduction to Coppélia than anything else, despite the oddly chosen title. Even those unfamiliar with Copeland’s legendary status as the first black principal ballerina for the American Ballet Theatre will predict the trite ending. The illustrations are an attractive combination of warm brown, yellow, and rosy mahogany. However, this combination also obscures variations in skin tone, especially among Misty’s classmates. Misty and her mother are depicted with brown hair and brown skin; Miss Bradley has red hair and pale skin. Additionally, there’s a disappointing lack of body-type diversity; the dancers are depicted as uniformly skinny with extremely long limbs. The precise linework captures movement, yet the humanity of dance is missing. Many ballet steps are illustrated clearly, but some might confuse readers unfamiliar with ballet terminology. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.5-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 48% of actual size.)

A predictable ballet tale for die-hard Copeland fans or as an introduction to Coppélia. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-399-54764-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more