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Heart, humor, and more than a spoonful of weirdness help this mother/son tale ring oddly true.

A reimagined Italian classic gets the surreal update it deserves.

When Giovanni tells his mama that he’s going out for a walk, she warns him in no uncertain terms: “Don’t get distracted along the way.” For the first block or so, he follows her dictates, but soon enough the boy’s attention wanders. It wanders so much, in fact, that he starts accidentally dropping body parts along the way. There goes a hand! Then a whole arm! Then a foot! Kindly passersby return each part to Giovanni’s mother, who’s at her wits’ end with the boy, even as her neighbors assure her, “Well, it’s no mystery. That’s just the way children are.” By the time he hops home, she just puts him back together, and when he asks if he was a good boy, she assures him that yes, he most certainly was. Any parent with similarly distractible offspring of their own will deeply sympathize with this mother. Interestingly, even as things grow increasingly fantastic, the storytelling reinforces Mama’s unflagging love for Giovanni. Alemagna’s mixed-media art provides the perfect counterpart to this tale of waylaid appendages, perfectly conveying both the familiar ridiculousness of the storyline and the deep-seated connection between a boy and his mama. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Heart, humor, and more than a spoonful of weirdness help this mother/son tale ring oddly true. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 24, 2023

ISBN: 9781592704033

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 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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From the Big Bright Feelings series

A valuable asset to the library of a child who experiences anxiety and a great book to get children talking about their...

Ruby is an adventurous and happy child until the day she discovers a Worry.

Ruby barely sees the Worry—depicted as a blob of yellow with a frowny unibrow—at first, but as it hovers, the more she notices it and the larger it grows. The longer Ruby is affected by this Worry, the fewer colors appear on the page. Though she tries not to pay attention to the Worry, which no one else can see, ignoring it prevents her from enjoying the things that she once loved. Her constant anxiety about the Worry causes the bright yellow blob to crowd Ruby’s everyday life, which by this point is nearly all washes of gray and white. But at the playground, Ruby sees a boy sitting on a bench with a growing sky-blue Worry of his own. When she invites the boy to talk, his Worry begins to shrink—and when Ruby talks about her own Worry, it also grows smaller. By the book’s conclusion, Ruby learns to control her Worry by talking about what worries her, a priceless lesson for any child—or adult—conveyed in a beautifully child-friendly manner. Ruby presents black, with hair in cornrows and two big afro-puff pigtails, while the boy has pale skin and spiky black hair.

A valuable asset to the library of a child who experiences anxiety and a great book to get children talking about their feelings (. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0237-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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