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Zippy, vibrant, and fun…a delightfully gooey romp for young readers.

What’s to be done when green slime overruns everything?

A bright green slime takes over in this slapstick picture book with strong visual appeal for readers in preschool through second grade. The vibrance of the slime and the characters who confront it pop against the black-and-white line-drawn backgrounds that evoke the style of the 1960s. As this playful book opens, a Black-presenting sibling team hears a “thwack”—or maybe a “blerb”—on the door, which also displays a small green blob smudged against the window. Against their better judgment, they open the door to the intrusive goo, which immediately takes over their living room, bathtub, and bed. It’s not long before the troublesome gunk has oozed its way into the street and down to soccer practice before barreling through a PTA meeting. As the slime takes over the school’s library, gym, and science lab, the whole diverse community steps in to help. Gilbert’s understated text doesn’t bother trying to explain the origin of the slime, instead reveling in the chaos it creates. Children will love sounding out the onomatopoeia, often rendered in an appropriately gloppy hand: “Zlerk! PHLAP! SQUERCH!” Fans of Billy Bloo Is Stuck in Goo, by Jennifer Hamburg and illustrated by Ross Burach (2017), or On Account of the Gum, by Adam Rex (2020), will enjoy this lively adventure.

Zippy, vibrant, and fun…a delightfully gooey romp for young readers. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 27, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-30357-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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