DANDELIONS

It would be hard to come up with a tale of western settlers that's not a cliché, but Bunting (Spying on Miss Muller, p. 553, etc.) has done it. She takes a look at a pioneer woman, seen through the sympathetic eyes of her daughter, Zoe. While Zoe's father is challenged by the prospect of building a sod house on his turf, his pregnant wife is obviously homesick, and the prairie offers little solace: The view never changes, there are few neighbors, the closest town is a day's journey. In the gift of a miraculous patch of dandelions dug up from the roadside, Zoe hopes to cheer her mother (for a book for older readers, with a similar theme, see the review of Jennifer Armstrong's Black-Eyed Susan, above). Of the re-rooting of the dandelions, her mother says, "Don't expect a miracle, Zoe. It will take time." The last page shows the sod house crowned by a roof of gold. Shed (Staton Rabin's Casey Over There, 1994) creates scenes that makes this family larger-than-life; they capture the baked yellow heat of summer, and the golden weed that represents home. A memorable book, for the way its characters struggle with unhappiness, and slowly overcome it. (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-15-200050-X

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1995

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BECAUSE YOUR DADDY LOVES YOU

Give this child’s-eye view of a day at the beach with an attentive father high marks for coziness: “When your ball blows across the sand and into the ocean and starts to drift away, your daddy could say, Didn’t I tell you not to play too close to the waves? But he doesn’t. He wades out into the cold water. And he brings your ball back to the beach and plays roll and catch with you.” Alley depicts a moppet and her relaxed-looking dad (to all appearances a single parent) in informally drawn beach and domestic settings: playing together, snuggling up on the sofa and finally hugging each other goodnight. The third-person voice is a bit distancing, but it makes the togetherness less treacly, and Dad’s mix of love and competence is less insulting, to parents and children both, than Douglas Wood’s What Dads Can’t Do (2000), illus by Doug Cushman. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 23, 2005

ISBN: 0-618-00361-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2005

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A welcome, well-researched reflection of cultural pride in the early-reader landscape.

RAFI AND ROSI MUSIC!

From the Rafi and Rosi series

The fourth installment in Delacre’s early-reader series centers on the rich musical traditions of Puerto Rico, once again featuring sibling tree frogs Rafi and Rosi Coquí.

Readers learn along with Rafi and Rosi as they explore bomba, plena, and salsa in three chapters. A glossary at the beginning sets readers up well to understand the Spanish vocabulary, including accurate phoneticization for non-Spanish speakers. The stories focus on Rafi and Rosi’s relationship within a musical context. For example, in one chapter Rafi finds out that he attracts a larger audience playing his homemade güiro with Rosi’s help even though he initially excluded her: “Big brothers only.” Even when he makes mistakes, as the older brother, Rafi consoles Rosi when she is embarrassed or angry at him. In each instance, their shared joy for music and dance ultimately shines through any upsets—a valuable reflection of unity. Informational backmatter and author’s sources are extensive. Undoubtedly these will help teachers, librarians, and parents to develop Puerto Rican cultural programs, curriculum, or home activities to extend young readers’ learning. The inclusion of instructions to make one’s own homemade güiro is a thoughtful addition. The Spanish translation, also by Delacre and published simultaneously, will require a more advanced reader than the English one to recognize and comprehend contractions (“pa’bajo-pa-pa’rriba”) and relatively sophisticated vocabulary.

A welcome, well-researched reflection of cultural pride in the early-reader landscape. (Early reader. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-89239-429-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Children's Book Press

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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