As Maria shows, some things are worth fighting for.

Maria’s clothes always match the occasion as well as her accessories, but she’s about to “lose [her] matchy-matchy mind.”

The book’s beautiful, flowery cover foreshadows the world Maria lives in. In the living room Maria’s outfit blends in with the print of the comfy chair she’s sitting in. At school her laces, lunchbox, backpack, and even the barrettes holding back her black hair match. One comical two-page spread shows Maria’s flowery yellow underwear matching her dress. Maria’s problem here, though, is not the outfits: It’s her mom. “My mom picks out all of my clothes. She makes everyone…and everything match.” Maria longs to mix it up, and in her fight for the right to self-expression, she rebels, conceals, debates, and marches. Finally, Mom concedes, even wearing her own unmatchy outfit: “Polka dots and petunias!” By the end of the book, Maria exults that “this is me. Marvelous, unmatching, mix-it-up me!” McGill’s humorous illustrations mix patterns, textiles, and collage to great effect. Readers might want to pair this book with Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match/Marisol McDonald no combina, by Monica Brown and illustrated by Sara Palacios (2011), for a look at another child who rejoices in her individuality. Maria and her mother have black hair and olive skin; her school friends have a variety of skin and hair colors.

As Maria shows, some things are worth fighting for. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-944903-72-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cameron + Company

Review Posted Online: Aug. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2019


Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work.

A young spinach hater becomes a spinach lover after she has to grow her own in a class garden.

Unable to trade away the seed packet she gets from her teacher for tomatoes, cukes or anything else more palatable, Sylvia reluctantly plants and nurtures a pot of the despised veggie then transplants it outside in early spring. By the end of school, only the plot’s lettuce, radishes and spinach are actually ready to eat (talk about a badly designed class project!)—and Sylvia, once she nerves herself to take a nibble, discovers that the stuff is “not bad.” She brings home an armful and enjoys it from then on in every dish: “And that was the summer Sylvia Spivens said yes to spinach.” Raff uses unlined brushwork to give her simple cartoon illustrations a pleasantly freehand, airy look, and though Pryor skips over the (literally, for spinach) gritty details in both the story and an afterword, she does cover gardening basics in a simple and encouraging way.

Very young gardeners will need more information, but for certain picky eaters, the suggested strategy just might work. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-9836615-1-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Readers to Eaters

Review Posted Online: Sept. 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2012


            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978