Embraces “home” as a journey as well as a destination.

A young Taiwanese American girl navigates between one home and another.

Lily is energetic and imaginative and loves to play chase. When Mama announces their move to Taiwan to take care of Ah Ma, Lily’s grandmother, the girl’s world comes crashing down as she begins to process all that she will miss: the fireflies at Parsley Park, her friend Jill. And when they arrive, things are wildly different—the welcome banquet with relatives is nothing like her backyard barbecue, the motor scooter is a far cry from her car, and so on. With humor and empathy, the simple storyline and vivid illustrations convey Lily’s challenges at her new school and her struggles with jet lag, the Chinese language, and socializing. A pivotal moment with Mama opens Lily’s heart; on a page filled with white space, parent and child hug and then Lily moves toward the edge of the page, ready to give her new home a chance. The artwork shows Lily’s perspective broadening as she finds her way and regains her stride, eventually feeling at home in her current environment. The endpapers complement each other, portraying a sunny, palm tree–lined suburban neighborhood in the United States at the front and, on the back, a moonlit street scene in Taiwan. Given the time differences between the two countries, this juxtaposition not only reflects simultaneous realities in different locales, but also underscores the duality of existence familiar to individuals whose identities are rooted in diverse geographies and languages. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Embraces “home” as a journey as well as a destination. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-316-37710-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2022


Charming and thought-provoking proof that we all contain multitudes.

Oscar winner McConaughey offers intriguing life observations.

The series of pithy, wry comments, each starting with the phrase “Just because,” makes clear that each of us is a mass of contradictions: “Just because we’re friends, / doesn’t mean you can’t burn me. / Just because I’m stubborn, / doesn’t mean that you can’t turn me.” Witty, digitally rendered vignettes portray youngsters diverse in terms of race and ability (occasionally with pets looking on) dealing with everything from friendship drama to a nerve-wracking footrace. “Just because I’m dirty, / doesn’t mean I can’t get clean” is paired with an image of a youngster taking a bath while another character (possibly an older sibling) sits nearby, smiling. “Just because you’re nice, / doesn’t mean you can’t get mean” depicts the older one berating the younger one for tracking mud into the house. The artwork effectively brings to life the succinct, rhyming text and will help readers make sense of it. Perhaps, after studying the illustrations and gaining further insight into the comments, kids will reread and reflect upon them further. The final page unites the characters from earlier pages with a reassuring message for readers: “Just because the sun has set, / doesn’t mean it will not rise. / Because every day is a gift, / each one a new surprise. BELIEVE IT.” As a follow-up, readers should be encouraged to make their own suggestions to complete the titular phrase. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Charming and thought-provoking proof that we all contain multitudes. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023

ISBN: 9780593622032

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2023


The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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