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GUS BECOMES A BIG BROTHER

AN ADOPTION STORY

Sensitive, thorough, loving guidance that helps smooth the adoption process for siblings-to-be.

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When a canine family gets ready to adopt, a young dog learns about being a big brother in this picture book.

Although the Barker family—Buford, Winnie, and 3-year-old Gus—is a happy one, something is missing. Gus would love a puppy to cavort with, and his parents would like an addition to the family. So when Mr. and Mrs. Barker tell Gus they’re adopting, he exults: “I’m going to be a big brother!” As his parents go through the process, they tell Gus what to expect. After his new brother, Pacco, arrives, Gus has more changes to navigate, such as sharing toys and attention. But he loves playing with Pacco. When others think that Pacco is a friend, Gus replies proudly: “Nope, I’m his big brother!” Lonczak, in her latest children’s book focused on teaching resilience, does an admirable job of helping prepare kids for a family adoption. Adults, too, can benefit from how the work thinks through possible problems and offers effective solutions; for example, while Gus will give some of his toys to Pacco, he can keep his favorite ones. Warmth and affection underlie the story, as when Gus is reassured that “your parents have oodles of love for you. And when we add a new pup to a family…the love just grows even bigger.” Varjotie creates a friendly, relaxed atmosphere with her soft colors, rounded edges, and animals that combine realistic and anthropomorphic features.

Sensitive, thorough, loving guidance that helps smooth the adoption process for siblings-to-be.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-9786093-8-2

Page Count: 44

Publisher: IngramSpark

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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A BIKE LIKE SERGIO'S

Embedded in this heartwarming story of doing the right thing is a deft examination of the pressures of income inequality on...

Continuing from their acclaimed Those Shoes (2007), Boelts and Jones entwine conversations on money, motives, and morality.

This second collaboration between author and illustrator is set within an urban multicultural streetscape, where brown-skinned protagonist Ruben wishes for a bike like his friend Sergio’s. He wishes, but Ruben knows too well the pressure his family feels to prioritize the essentials. While Sergio buys a pack of football cards from Sonny’s Grocery, Ruben must buy the bread his mom wants. A familiar lady drops what Ruben believes to be a $1 bill, but picking it up, to his shock, he discovers $100! Is this Ruben’s chance to get himself the bike of his dreams? In a fateful twist, Ruben loses track of the C-note and is sent into a panic. After finally finding it nestled deep in a backpack pocket, he comes to a sense of moral clarity: “I remember how it was for me when that money that was hers—then mine—was gone.” When he returns the bill to her, the lady offers Ruben her blessing, leaving him with double-dipped emotions, “happy and mixed up, full and empty.” Readers will be pleased that there’s no reward for Ruben’s choice of integrity beyond the priceless love and warmth of a family’s care and pride.

Embedded in this heartwarming story of doing the right thing is a deft examination of the pressures of income inequality on children. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6649-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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ROBOBABY

A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy.

Robo-parents Diode and Lugnut present daughter Cathode with a new little brother—who requires, unfortunately, some assembly.

Arriving in pieces from some mechanistic version of Ikea, little Flange turns out to be a cute but complicated tyke who immediately falls apart…and then rockets uncontrollably about the room after an overconfident uncle tinkers with his basic design. As a squad of helpline techies and bevies of neighbors bearing sludge cake and like treats roll in, the cluttered and increasingly crowded scene deteriorates into madcap chaos—until at last Cath, with help from Roomba-like robodog Sprocket, stages an intervention by whisking the hapless new arrival off to a backyard workshop for a proper assembly and software update. “You’re such a good big sister!” warbles her frazzled mom. Wiesner’s robots display his characteristic clean lines and even hues but endearingly look like vaguely anthropomorphic piles of random jet-engine parts and old vacuum cleaners loosely connected by joints of armored cable. They roll hither and thither through neatly squared-off panels and pages in infectiously comical dismay. Even the end’s domestic tranquility lasts only until Cathode spots the little box buried in the bigger one’s packing material: “TWINS!” (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 52% of actual size.)

A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-544-98731-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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