AUNTIE UNCLE

DRAG QUEEN HERO

Heroes come in all shapes and sizes.

Meet Uncle Leo/Auntie Lotta, who, the narrator informs readers, is an office worker by day and a drag performer by night. When Lotta saves an errant puppy at a local Pride parade, the mayor wants to honor her with an award. But who will accept it: Leo or Lotta? Leo/Lotta is written with a rigidly binary personality. Readers learn that Leo is good at math; Lotta loves to sing and dance. The social circles of work and play are kept distinctly separate. Although the personas combine into “Auntie Uncle” in the final pages, the passive stereotyping of the character is strong. In Chambers’ bland cartoons, Leo is depicted as a white man in a brown, tweed sport coat, tie, and trousers while the be-wigged Lotta is drawn in flamboyant outfits that range in color. Although the characters combine at the end, wigless and wearing earrings, a brown coat and trousers, and a diaphanous overskirt, the roles are still separate, although now they are tripartite: “I love my Uncle Leo. He still checks my numbers. I love Auntie Lotta. She still sings and dances with me. But I think maybe I love my Auntie Uncle the best of all.” The world needs more stories about drag queens, but it also needs stories where the moral isn’t to compartmentalize their lives or their personalities.

Sashay away. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: May 19, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-57687-935-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: POW!

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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A rallying cry for anyone looking for a strong example of perseverance.

MAYA AND THE BEAST

Brazilian surfer Gabeira offers a fictionalized version of her childhood with this story of an adventurous young girl who overcomes sexism and self-doubt to become a great athlete.

The inhabitants of the fishing village of Nazaré, Portugal, are in awe of a massive wave known as the Beast. A young villager named Maya has asthma and brings medicine with her wherever she goes; though shy, Maya finds fulfillment when moving her body during dancing, gymnastics, and swimming. Having grown up hearing about the Beast, she goes to see it for herself and is in awe of the massive wave, though she also notices boys surfing on it. Maya decides to try surfing, which her father encourages. The boys at the beach tell her surfing is no sport for girls, and she nearly believes them until a voice in a seashell tells her not to give up. Both text and illustrations offer a stirring account of Maya’s journey to surfing mastery. The Beast begins as a spectacle from afar, filling the page with its sheer scope. Maya is often framed within or beneath its crest, including a wonderful scene of her would-be hecklers watching dumbfounded as she joyously surfs ahead of them. Maya and her family are brown-skinned; for the most part, other residents of Nazaré range in skin color from tan to brown. In an author’s note, Gabeira describes growing up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and, in 2007, setting a Guinness record for the largest wave ever surfed at Praia de Norte in Nazaré. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A rallying cry for anyone looking for a strong example of perseverance. (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4197-6000-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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Good-hearted fun—great for fans of Kit Feeny and Babymouse.

MEET THE BIGFEET

From the Yeti Files series , Vol. 1

It’s a Bigfeet family reunion!

Everyone’s favorite frosty, furry cryptid, the yeti, actually has a name: Blizz Richards. From his supersecret HQ in Nepal he keeps in touch with his fellow cryptids, all of whom have sworn an oath to keep themselves hidden. That’s not always easy, especially when there are cryptozoologists, like the nasty (but bumbling) George Vanquist, who are always trying to expose the secretive creatures. Vanquist got a picture of Blizz’s cousin Brian near his home in British Columbia, causing the mortified Brian to disappear entirely. When Blizz receives an invitation to a Bigfeet family reunion in Canada, he calls his buddies Alexander (one of Santa’s elves), Gunthar (a goblin) and Frank the Arctic fox to help him get ready. When they arrive in Canada, Brian is still nowhere to be seen. Can Blizz and his skunk ape and other sasquatch cousins find Brian, have the reunion and evade Vanquist? If anyone can, the Bigfeet clan can. Illustrator Sherry’s first volume in the Yeti Files is a fast and funny graphic-prose tale full of labeled pictures and comic-style panels. Those just starting chapter books may have some trouble with a few big words, but they’ll enjoy the big friendly monsters and immediately ask for the next tale—which looks to be about the Loch Ness monster.

Good-hearted fun—great for fans of Kit Feeny and Babymouse. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-55617-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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