A warmly inclusive book for growing new readers.

READ REVIEW

THE GARDEN

From the Confetti Kids series

Diverse children work in a community garden.

In Hooks’ story, Lily, a brown-skinned girl with brown curls, says she misses her old suburban home’s garden, and her mother, whose appearance is similar, suggests that she help in the urban community garden near their new home. The ensuing story employs a controlled text and is broken up into short chapters that provide structure and will support feelings of accomplishment in emergent readers. Mr. Sam, who oversees the garden and appears Asian, welcomes her and encourages her to invite friends to help, too. Readers of previous books will recognize familiar names and faces: Henry, Mei, Pablo, and Padma, who are cued in the text or in Ng-Benitez’s appealing watercolor and digital illustrations as white, Asian, Latinx, and South Asian, respectively. Henry and Padma are initially reluctant, while Mei and Pablo are eager, but all agree to try. Mr. Sam shows them how to plant and care for seeds, and Padma is disappointed that it’ll take “months” for plants to grow. This makes Lily worry that her friends aren’t having fun, but, satisfyingly, they persist and are rewarded with literal fruits (and vegetables) of their labor. The visible enthusiasm of the tiny songbirds (underscored by their dialogue: little musical notes followed by exclamation marks) who watch the plants sprout adds sweet humor.

A warmly inclusive book for growing new readers. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62014-565-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the...

ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER

Rhymed couplets convey the story of a girl who likes to build things but is shy about it. Neither the poetry nor Rosie’s projects always work well.

Rosie picks up trash and oddments where she finds them, stashing them in her attic room to work on at night. Once, she made a hat for her favorite zookeeper uncle to keep pythons away, and he laughed so hard that she never made anything publicly again. But when her great-great-aunt Rose comes to visit and reminds Rosie of her own past building airplanes, she expresses her regret that she still has not had the chance to fly. Great-great-aunt Rose is visibly modeled on Rosie the Riveter, the iconic, red-bandanna–wearing poster woman from World War II. Rosie decides to build a flying machine and does so (it’s a heli-o-cheese-copter), but it fails. She’s just about to swear off making stuff forever when Aunt Rose congratulates her on her failure; now she can go on to try again. Rosie wears her hair swooped over one eye (just like great-great-aunt Rose), and other figures have exaggerated hairdos, tiny feet and elongated or greatly rounded bodies. The detritus of Rosie’s collections is fascinating, from broken dolls and stuffed animals to nails, tools, pencils, old lamps and possibly an erector set. And cheddar-cheese spray.

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the right place. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0845-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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This earnest Latino first-grader who overcomes obstacles and solves mysteries is a winning character

PEDRO, FIRST-GRADE HERO

From the Pedro series , Vol. 1

The creators of the Katie Woo series turn their focus to a peripheral character, first-grader Pedro—Katie’s friend and schoolmate.

Four short chapters—“Pedro Goes Buggy,” “Pedro’s Big Goal,” “Pedro’s Mystery Club,” and “Pedro For President”—highlight a Latino main character surrounded by a superbly diverse cast. At times unsure of himself, Pedro is extremely likable, for he wants to do his best and is a fair friend. He consistently comes out on top, even when his younger brother releases all the bugs he’s captured for a class assignment or when self-assured bully Roddy tries to unite opposition to Pedro’s female opponent (Katie Woo) in the race for first-grade class president. Using a third-person, past-tense narrative voice, Manushkin expands her repertoire by adding a hero comparable to EllRay Jakes. What is refreshing about the book is that for the most part, aside from Roddy’s gender-based bullying, the book overcomes boy-girl stereotypes: girls and boys play soccer, boys and girls run for president, girls and boys hunt for bugs, all setting a progressive standard for chapter books. With mixed-media illustrations featuring colorful bugs, soccer action, a mystery hunt, and a presidential campaign, Lyon’s attention to detail in color and facial expressions complements the story nicely.

This earnest Latino first-grader who overcomes obstacles and solves mysteries is a winning character . (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5158-0112-2

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Picture Window Books

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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