A lovely multicultural story about a young friendship, celebrating culture and differences.

MAYA AND ANNIE ON SATURDAYS AND SUNDAYS / LOS SÁBADOS Y DOMINGOS DE MAYA Y ANNIE

A childhood friendship and cultural acceptance are at the center of this authentic, special story.

In alternating first-person narration, Annie and Maya take turns describing their weekends: They play video games inside and in the backyard of Annie’s big home; in Maya’s little house, they help with the garden and play with her two dogs. When in Annie’s home, Maya is introduced to different foods: noodles, dumplings, and gai lan. At Maya’s place, Annie enjoys tamales, tacos, and pozole. The two celebrate a posada with Maya’s mother and Lunar New Year with Annie’s dad. Sometimes the girls fight, but they always make up. One Sunday, both families eat together, and the girls learn that their parents, Annie’s dad and Maya’s mom, are getting married. Muraida’s colorful, vibrant illustrations pay special, subtle tribute to the girls’ Latin American and Vietnamese backgrounds; spreads of the girls at their respective homes display culturally appropriate décor and patterns. Most strikingly, perhaps, two spreads depict the families sharing in each other’s religious and cultural celebrations: One displays a candlelit evening parade and children striking a piñata, while the other depicts another vivid parade following red lanterns and an undulating, festive paper dragon. Each page incorporates bilingual text for both English and Spanish readers.

A lovely multicultural story about a young friendship, celebrating culture and differences. (Bilingual picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-55885-859-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Piñata Books/Arte Público

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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Halloween is used merely as a backdrop; better holiday titles for young readers are available.

THE LITTLE GHOST WHO WAS A QUILT

A ghost learns to appreciate his differences.

The little ghost protagonist of this title is unusual. He’s a quilt, not a lightweight sheet like his parents and friends. He dislikes being different despite his mom’s reassurance that his ancestors also had unconventional appearances. Halloween makes the little ghost happy, though. He decides to watch trick-or-treaters by draping over a porch chair—but lands on a porch rail instead. A mom accompanying her daughter picks him up, wraps him around her chilly daughter, and brings him home with them! The family likes his looks and comforting warmth, and the little ghost immediately feels better about himself. As soon as he’s able to, he flies out through the chimney and muses happily that this adventure happened only due to his being a quilt. This odd but gently told story conveys the importance of self-respect and acceptance of one’s uniqueness. The delivery of this positive message has something of a heavy-handed feel and is rushed besides. It also isn’t entirely logical: The protagonist could have been a different type of covering; a blanket, for instance, might have enjoyed an identical experience. The soft, pleasing illustrations’ palette of tans, grays, white, black, some touches of color, and, occasionally, white text against black backgrounds suggest isolation, such as the ghost feels about himself. Most humans, including the trick-or-treating mom and daughter, have beige skin. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-16.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 66.2% of actual size.)

Halloween is used merely as a backdrop; better holiday titles for young readers are available. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7352-6447-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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