No strife necessary: Readers will be content just to have met Bubbe and Naomi.

BUBBE'S BELATED BAT MITZVAH

Is serenity a narrative problem?

Bubbe can’t remember how many kippot she’s made. She’s 95, and she’s crocheted a skullcap for every bar and bat mitzvah and wedding in her family. Her great-granddaughter Naomi thinks it’s time for Bubbe to have a bat mitzvah ceremony of her own. In some books, this would be a source of tension. Bubbe might struggle with the religious texts. She might argue with people who think a religious service should be led by a man. But this is a book with no conflict. Bubbe decides to learn Hebrew, and she does. Some readers might prefer a book with less harmony and tranquility, and less sedate pacing. But it seems uncharitable, somehow, to wish any struggle or pain on Naomi and her Bubbe, whose account of her descendants’ coming-of-age ceremonies is something of a thumbnail history of the evolution of the role of women in Judaism. Cis’ illustrations are so expressive that Bubbe’s eyes, captured in a few strokes of paint, instantly make her seem both wise and kind. On the day of the bat mitzvah, all the family members are wearing matching kippot, crocheted by Naomi. This is the exact opposite of conflict, and if it’s a little dull, it’s dull in the most satisfying way possible.

No strife necessary: Readers will be content just to have met Bubbe and Naomi. (Picture book. 3-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4677-1949-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2014

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Indeed, no one will be able to resist this baby.

BABY GOES TO MARKET

Baby is so charming that various vendors in this West African market gift him all sorts of yummies.

Baby rides on Mama’s back, held snug by a bright cloth wrap. Mama navigates the busy, colorful outdoor market, her woven basket balanced on her head. The text unrolls rhythmically in Atinuke’s storyteller’s voice: “Market is very crowded. Baby is very curious. Baby is so curious that Mrs. Ade, the banana seller, gives Baby six bananas.” Baby eats one and puts the remaining bananas in Mama’s basket. All the while Mama shops, unbeknownst to her, vendors continue to respond to Baby’s transparent delight with five oranges, four “sugary chin-chin biscuits,” three “roasted sweet corn,” and two pieces of coconut. With each delicacy given, Baby eats one and puts the rest in the basket. When Mama sees all the extra foodstuffs she didn’t buy, she’s concerned, until the vendors reassure her: “We gave those things to Baby!” In her debut picture book, Brooksbank offers bright, bustling tableaux of shoppers, vendors, and goods. The smiling, all-black cast sort through myriad wares, while the text keeps up its rhythm, introducing both typical items bought in a West African market and a gentle lesson in arithmetic as Baby alternately snacks on and stashes his gifts.

Indeed, no one will be able to resist this baby. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9570-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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Daddy-and-child dog lovers can try some of these canine ways of expressing affection.

DADDIES ARE AWESOME

Puppies celebrate the many ways their dads are awesome.

“Daddies are playful. / They swing you around. // You ride on their shoulders / or hang upside down.” The first spread pictures a scruffy pup, mouth clamped on its dad’s tail, hanging. The second features a long dachshund, his four pups using the large expanse of his back as a jungle gym or resting spot. The husky dad is labeled as daring, brave, and strong, while the hound takes his pup on adventures (digging and hiding under a bush). Other dog dads give kisses and tickles, tell bedtime stories and help count sheep (a stuffed toy), and help their pups grow (challenging them with stairs and carrying them when the going gets tough). Lovšin creatively interprets some of the text that applies well to kids but not so well to canines: dad and pup at each end of a long stick held in their mouths is the dog equivalent of holding hands. Though many dog breeds will be familiar, some are just mutts, though all are shown caring for and enjoying the company of their offspring. White backgrounds keep the focus on the dogs.

Daddy-and-child dog lovers can try some of these canine ways of expressing affection. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 17, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62779-452-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

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