THE MATS

Matching a text first published over 60 years ago (and adapted here) with vibrant new illustrations, this brief import from the Philippines offers a moving tale of one family’s memorial to their lost ones. Marcelina and her six brothers and sisters welcome their father home from a business trip. As promised, he brings gifts: hand-woven sleeping mats “for every one of the family.” After the living receive theirs, three mats remain, one for each of the siblings who died young. Alägrä’s art is done in a muralistic style, with simple, monumental forms, stylized facial features, and bright, boldly contrasting colors. The language is sometimes awkward—“Papa’s face was filled with a long-bewildered sorrow”—but the emotions are strong and real. The story’s brevity makes it a promising discussion-starter, and the idea that “They may be dead but they are never really gone” is presented without excess sentimentality. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-916291-86-3

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 1999

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WAITING FOR BABY

One of a four-book series designed to help the very young prepare for new siblings, this title presents a toddler-and-mother pair (the latter heavily pregnant) as they read about new babies, sort hand-me-downs, buy new toys, visit the obstetrician and the sonographer, speculate and wait. Throughout, the child asks questions and makes exclamations with complete enthusiasm: “How big is the baby? What does it eat? I felt it move! Is it a boy or girl?” Fuller’s jolly pictures present a biracial family that thoroughly enjoys every moment together. It’s a bit oversimplified, but no one can complain about the positive message it conveys, appropriately, to its baby and toddler audience. The other titles in the New Baby series are My New Baby (ISBN: 978-1-84643-276-7), Look at Me! (ISBN: 978-1-84643-278-1) and You and Me (ISBN: 978-1-84643-277-4). (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84643-275-0

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2010

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THE PARTY

A girl and her sister start off rather glumly in the back seat of the car, leaving all their friends behind, because they are off to a family party. When they arrive, they are kissed by Aunt Joan—the worst—and then there is more kissing and a bunch of cousins just hanging around. But the kids start sharing war stories (hair cuts, lost teeth, split lips) and playing shark on the lawn; there are hideouts under Uncle John’s chair and potato-chip thievery; and then there is all that food beloved of family gatherings, for it is Gran’s birthday. At the end, of course, no one wants to go home. In sprightly rhyme, Reid captures the range of experience, from initial wariness to high hilarity, present at parties full of relatives. Her illustrations, done in painted Plasticine on board, have a wonderful texture, making a Hawaiian shirt, three-bean salad, and Mary Jane shoes pop out of the page. A treat. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-97801-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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