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A visually and textually engaging tale with a concerning takeaway.

A South Asian girl earns money to buy herself a pair of flip-flops.

Lali spends a busy morning cooking and building a fire. When she’s done working, a man hands her money. As she walks off, the “twisty-curvy path” hurts her bare feet. She encounters several of her animal friends, who make demands—a hen wants Lali to buy her lentils, a goat desires berries, and a bird needs ribbons to decorate a nest. At the market, Lali purchases flip-flops for her aching feet but doesn’t fill her friends’ requests. When she returns, the animals wail in distress, claiming that Lali has forgotten them and “let [them] down.” In response, Lali goes back to earn more money, fighting her hunger as she works, and later returns to the market. She buys gifts for her animal friends, who reward her with a picnic. As in Zia and Coleman’s previous book, Lali’s Feather (2020), the text has a playful lyricism driven by clever use of onomatopoeia accompanied by warm, appealing illustrations. However, it’s never clear why such a young girl is working—and, indeed, performing tasks unsafe for children, like building fires and handling heavy equipment. Equally troubling is the message that Lali was wrong to consider her own needs and that her friends’ well-being is more important than her own. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A visually and textually engaging tale with a concerning takeaway. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: May 30, 2023

ISBN: 9781682634936

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Feb. 7, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2023

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From the Izzy Gizmo series

A disappointing follow-up.

Inventor Izzy Gizmo is back in this sequel to her eponymous debut (2017).

While busily inventing one day, Izzy receives an invitation from the Genius Guild to their annual convention. Though Izzy’s “inventions…don’t always work,” Grandpa (apparently her sole caregiver) encourages her to go. The next day they undertake a long journey “over fields, hills, and waves” and “mile after mile” to isolated Technoff Isle. There, Izzy finds she must compete against four other kids to create the most impressive machine. The colorful, detail-rich illustrations chronicle how poor Izzy is thwarted at every turn by Abi von Lavish, a Veruca Salt–esque character who takes all the supplies for herself. But when Abi abandons her project, Izzy salvages the pieces and decides to take Grandpa’s advice to create a machine that “can really be put to good use.” A frustrated Izzy’s impatience with a friend almost foils her chance at the prize, but all’s well that ends well. There’s much to like: Brown-skinned inventor girl Izzy is an appealing character, it’s great to see a nurturing brown-skinned male caregiver, the idea of an “Invention Convention” is fun, and a sustainable-energy invention is laudable. However, these elements don’t make up for rhymes that often feel forced and a lackluster story.

A disappointing follow-up. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68263-164-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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WOO-HOO! This is the perfect way to foster healthy self-esteem in little ones.

What’s better than a cheerleading chicken?

Are you ever blue, unsure, tired, or overworked? Do you ever feel lost or overwhelmed? This uplifting book, expressed in delightful, jaunty verse, explains how to lift your spirits pronto: What you need is a booster chicken telling you’re doing great even when you’re not so confident, as when you’re learning or practicing a new skill, for instance. Your feathered champion will be right there, encouraging you all the way, with a loud “WOO HOO!” that’ll keep you going and remove any doubt you’re super terrific. But what if your cheerful chick errs and doesn’t do what it set out to do? Don’t worry—your cheery chicken just needs a reminder that everyone makes mistakes. That alone is a pep talk, enhanced by the wisdom that making mistakes allows everyone to learn and demonstrate they did their best. So forgive yourself, chickens! But the best thing is…instead of relying on someone else—like a chicken—to strengthen your ego, say a generous daily “WOO HOO!” to yourself. This riotous book hits all the right notes and does so succinctly and hilariously. The energetic, comical illustrations, in Boynton’s signature style, will elicit giggles and go far to make the book’s important point. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

WOO-HOO! This is the perfect way to foster healthy self-esteem in little ones. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 4, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-316-48679-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2023

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