THE SHIVERS IN THE FRIDGE

What if a family of five kitchen magnets were marooned in the fridge with only their cardboard box for warmth? Manushkin’s sparkling mix of folkloric repetition, funny dialogue and—“PHOOMPH!!!”—perfectly chosen sound effects, cleverly withholds its punch line till the end. All day, the Shivers face predictable but rattling events: quaking rumbles, blazes of light, “monsters” that “reached out, reached out” to snatch away bits of the foodscape. One by one, each Shiver—by design or accident—is whisked off to an uncertain fate. (In a hilarious union of art and text, Mama cavorts in warm Emerald Lake—only to stick fast as the gelatin sets: “Emerald Lake, Jolly Whip—and MAMA!—were gone.”) The antic mixed media spreads hum: Compositions agreeably evoke Paul Galdone with fresh, original garnishes. Zelinsky runs with the authorial metaphor, depicting the fridge contents as a skewed, teeming village—where a milk carton’s top is a pitched roof, and broccoli’s a tree. From endpapers on, hidden visual clues hint at the Shivers’ magnetic personalities. Cool ingredients for read-aloud laughs. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-525-46943-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2006

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Sincere and wholehearted.

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I PROMISE

The NBA star offers a poem that encourages curiosity, integrity, compassion, courage, and self-forgiveness.

James makes his debut as a children’s author with a motivational poem touting life habits that children should strive for. In the first-person narration, he provides young readers with foundational self-esteem encouragement layered within basketball descriptions: “I promise to run full court and show up each time / to get right back up and let my magic shine.” While the verse is nothing particularly artful, it is heartfelt, and in her illustrations, Mata offers attention-grabbing illustrations of a diverse and enthusiastic group of children. Scenes vary, including classrooms hung with student artwork, an asphalt playground where kids jump double Dutch, and a gym populated with pint-sized basketball players, all clearly part of one bustling neighborhood. Her artistry brings black and brown joy to the forefront of each page. These children evince equal joy in learning and in play. One particularly touching double-page spread depicts two vignettes of a pair of black children, possibly siblings; in one, they cuddle comfortably together, and in the other, the older gives the younger a playful noogie. Adults will appreciate the closing checklist of promises, which emphasize active engagement with school. A closing note very generally introduces principles that underlie the Lebron James Family Foundation’s I Promise School (in Akron, Ohio). (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 15% of actual size.)

Sincere and wholehearted. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-297106-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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Like a faithful teddy, sure to become a favorite for many readers.

LOUIS

A hug is a powerful thing.

Louis, a stuffed teddy bear, has grievances: His owner, a dark-haired kid with light-brown skin, has mistreated Louis in a variety of ways, including using the bear as a hankie, burying the toy in the sand, and subjecting him to the terrors of the washing machine. After Louis suffers the final indignity—almost being left behind on public transportation—the bear plans to make his escape. Savvy readers may surmise that Louis’ heart isn’t completely in this grand departure, as the teddy delays based on rain, cupcake-filled tea parties, and being the star of show-and-tell due to bravery during the bus incident. When the perfect moment to desert finally arrives, a last-minute hug helps Louis realize how much the kid loves and appreciates him. It’s a charming, genuinely sweet ending to a well-crafted story that leaves lots of openings for Rowan-Zoch’s boldly colored, crisp cartoon artwork to deliver a vibrant pop that will be appreciated in both large storytimes and intimate lap reads. Louis is marvelously expressive, panicking, glaring, and unexpectedly softening by turns. Caregivers and educators may see an opportunity in the story to engage in creative writing or storytelling based on the readers’ own favorite stuffed friends. Louis’ owner’s mom appears in one scene wearing a salwar kameez, suggesting the family is of South Asian heritage.

Like a faithful teddy, sure to become a favorite for many readers. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-328-49806-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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