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Readers may leave this book wishing their own parental units might be “misplaced,” if only so that they can visit this...

A gently surreal tale of a boy who must sift through throngs of abandoned fathers while on the hunt for his own.

The worst feeling? You’re sitting at the breakfast table coloring and you realize you’ve misplaced your dad. In this tale, a boy’s search takes him to the Bureau of Misplaced Dads. The director informs the kid that “at least 20 or 30 dads wander in every day,” including striped-sweater dads, weeping dads, and even a couple that have been released back into the wild (this “wild” is just outside the bureau’s back door). When offered an array of adoptable dads, the boy is tempted. Fortunately, now he is able to remember where his own father may be. The word “misplaced” sets the right tone, clarifying early on that the boy will certainly find the right papa. The whimsically deadpan art keeps the tale upbeat, contrasting the wide array of hopeful, physically dissimilar dads against one another. Sadly, the book is not without the occasional creepy moment, like the leering dad lurking in a cardboard box with a knife and fork in hand. Still, it’s hard not to be charmed by the dads on display, including a “dad who always looks like he’s just gotten out of bed” and a “dad from Strasbourg, wearing his daughter’s bonnet,” among others.

Readers may leave this book wishing their own parental units might be “misplaced,” if only so that they can visit this bureau. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-77138-238-0

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2015

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Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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A visually striking, engaging picture book that sends the message that everyone counts.

A playful counting book also acts as a celebration of family and human diversity.

Shannon’s text is delivered in spare, rhythmic, lilting verse that begins with one and counts up to 10 as it presents different groupings of things and people in individual families, always emphasizing the unitary nature of each combination. “One is six. One line of laundry. One butterfly’s legs. One family.” Gomez’s richly colored pictures clarify and expand on all that the text lists: For “six,” a picture showing six members of a multigenerational family of color includes a line of laundry with six items hanging from it outside of their windows, as well as the painting of a six-legged butterfly that a child in the family is creating. While text never directs the art to depict diverse individuals and family constellations, Gomez does just this in her illustrations. Interracial families are included, as are depictions of men with their arms around each other, and a Sikh man wearing a turban. This inclusive spirit supports the text’s culminating assertion that “One is one and everyone. One earth. One world. One family.”

A visually striking, engaging picture book that sends the message that everyone counts. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 26, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-374-30003-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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