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DUTCH THE CAST IRON OVEN

Campers and cooks will enjoy this tasty tale.

Awards & Accolades

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A cooking implement forms a lasting friendship with a boy in this picture book.

Dutch isn’t a pot: He’s a cast-iron oven. Following Dutch’s life from when he was first “born” in 1865 through his travels across the prairie in a covered wagon and his arrival in a log cabin home, the story explores generations of a family. The advent of the electric oven leaves Dutch relegated to a barn. After years of languishing without cooking, Dutch is purchased at an estate sale and his new family introduces him to camping. He develops a special relationship with Tyler, one of the children. When Tyler leaves for college, Dutch is worried he’ll be left in the garage, but the teen returns to fetch his cooking companion. With notes reminiscent of Margery Williams’ classic The Velveteen Rabbit, Riddle’s story embraces not only the relationship between a child and a beloved object, but also the joy of cooking outdoors and sharing moments with family. Guess’ gentle ink and paint illustrations give more emotion and personality to Dutch than to the tale’s (mostly pale-skinned) humans, who never quite come to life. The author’s previous nonfiction titles, two volumes of The Keen Camper: Camping With Kids (2017; 2018), pair well with this entertaining fictional story about a piece of camping equipment. Recipes in the back encourage children and their parents to try outdoor cooking.

Campers and cooks will enjoy this tasty tale.

Pub Date: Nov. 20, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-9988716-4-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Southeast Seven Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

RAFI AND ROSI MUSIC!

From the Rafi and Rosi series

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

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 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

ZARA'S RULES FOR RECORD-BREAKING FUN

From the Zara's Rules series , Vol. 1

A charming contemporary story with a classic feel.

A 10 ¾-year-old girl weathers changes in her social circle—and her sense of self.

Dubbed “Queen of the Neighborhood” by beloved neighbor Mr. Chapman, who has sadly left Maryland for balmy Florida, Zara is apprehensive when a family with two kids moves into his house, potentially upsetting the delicate social balance. Readers familiar with Khan’s Zayd Saleem, Chasing the Dream books, set a few years after this series opener, will recognize the bustling Pakistani American Muslim household. Assertive, organized Zara and rambunctious 7-year-old Zayd live with their Mama and Baba; the siblings’ grandparents and uncle are integral parts of their daily lives. Zara and Zayd enjoy playing outside with their friends—Black sisters Jade and Gloria, White Alan, and Chinese American Melvin. Mr. Chapman always said that Zara knew how to “rule with grace and fairness,” but new arrivals Naomi and Michael, Jewish kids who are eager to engage socially, put this to the test. When Jamal Mamoo, Mama’s brother, brings over his Guinness World Records book, Zara decides that becoming a world-record holder is the boost her social status needs. Her humorous (and futile) attempts to make her mark ultimately lead her to being a more patient and understanding big sister and more flexible and supportive companion to friends old and new. Strong pacing, fluid prose, engaging hijinks, and heartwarming scenes of family life and outdoor play are complemented by expressive illustrations.

A charming contemporary story with a classic feel. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-9759-7

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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