Girls who love sparkles could do far worse than to spend time with these appealing performers.

BE A STAR!

From the Amazing Stardust Friends series , Vol. 2

The Stardust Girls return for a second circus-friendship tale.

The introductory title, Step into the Spotlight! (2014), centered on newcomer Marlo and her acceptance by circus girls Allie, Bella and Carly and their circle of friends. This title switches focus to Mexican-American Allie, short for Alejandra, a trapeze artist with dreams of television fame. These aspirations are stoked by the appearance of a TV producer and cameraman on the Stardust Circus train, there to shoot footage for a behind-the-scenes special. Allie’s machinations to draw their attention threaten her friendships and even her life, when she switches leotards in order to stand out among her blue-costumed family during a show. Once again, Alexander sets recognizable early-elementary dilemmas against an alluring backdrop for a story that feels both familiar and exotic at the same time. Allie’s delusions of greatness are completely on target for an 8-year-old; while readers will see that she has no chance at TV stardom, they will also empathize with her intense desires. Le Feyer’s grayscale illustrations (two to three to a double-page spread) break up the text for new chapter-book readers while also developing characters, working with the text to create a convincingly multiethnic circus community.

Girls who love sparkles could do far worse than to spend time with these appealing performers. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-75755-3

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Branches/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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

RAFI AND ROSI MUSIC!

From the Rafi and Rosi series

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 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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A heartfelt forward pass from one generation to the next (and the next).

MY FOOTBALL FAMILY

A pigskin-themed paean to family and family traditions.

As images depict a football-shaped newborn growing up, marrying, and helping to produce another—the second actually dressed in a football onesie, which is adorable—sports podcaster Holloway notes rookie season fumbles and triumphs, team huddles on the sofa to watch the big games, the passage of quarters and seasons, and major life events (like the wedding: “One day you may get drafted / To a franchise of your own”). All the while, Holloway promises to cheer from the sidelines in victory or defeat, to be there when needed, and to give each “wonderful expansion / of our football family” both a welcome and proper coaching. The family in Jang’s shiny, reasonably realistic illustrations includes three children. The verse’s language is nonspecific enough to apply to offspring of any gender as well as adoptees. In school settings and on playing fields of several sorts, the child, at various ages, light-skinned like their parents, joins a diverse group of peers, including one wearing a hijab and another who uses a hearing aid, while the child’s own family includes a dark-skinned sibling and, by the end, a child with, like their spouse, Asian features. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A heartfelt forward pass from one generation to the next (and the next). (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-84715-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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