So exemplary an execution of a simple concept that it can be read multiple ways—as multiplication, counting, sorting—without...

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Annemarie from Wordplay (2017) and her class work on set theory.

Annemarie’s homework assignment is for the students to draw a dozen items in sets: Three sets of four, four of three, and two of six are all valid. While Annemarie tries to decide what she wants to draw, she wonders what her classmates are working on, and the book cuts to various kids and their work. Initial examples (four sets of three, the most common set division selected by the students) are organized with the extra visual division of the four panels on each page, building to full-page images that encourage kids to count the items in the illustration to determine the sets. There’s also a delightful sequence that shows four seeds, then four saplings, then four trees, which pieced together read as a comic strip. The book doesn’t teach math so much as it encourages developing number sense through play. The art (digitally colored) has minimal shading and emphasizes basic shapes in both characters and their drawings, making it easy for child readers to imitate while playing along and drawing their own sets. Annemarie’s a brown-skinned girl with black hair and glasses in a class filled with racial diversity and led by a teacher who has dark brown skin, black hair, glasses, and a jaunty bow tie.

So exemplary an execution of a simple concept that it can be read multiple ways—as multiplication, counting, sorting—without sacrificing fun. (Early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-943145-34-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: TOON Books & Graphics

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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Thank you, Gerald and Piggie. We’ll miss you

THE THANK YOU BOOK

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Piggie is “one lucky pig,” and she’s determined to make sure she thanks “everyone who is important to” her in this, the final Elephant & Piggie book.

Gerald is sure his friend will forget someone—“someone important”—but Piggie assures him, “It will be a THANK-O-RAMA!” Piggie proceeds to thank the Squirrels for their great ideas, Snake for playing ball, and the Pigeon “for never giving up.” Piggie thanks and thanks: “I am a thanking machine!” She thanks character after character, even the Flies (“Any time, dude!”), as Gerald continues to interject that she’ll forget “someone VERY important.” Finally Piggie runs out of thanks, and by this time Gerald is steamed. “I goofed,” Piggie says in itty-bitty type, before lavishing thanks on Gerald. But that’s not whom Piggie forgot to thank! A classic Willems tantrum later, Gerald reveals the “someone important”: “Our reader.” Of course. “We could not be ‘us’ without you,” says Gerald, earnestly looking out from the page, and Piggie chimes in, “You are the best!” As Elephant & Piggie books go, this isn’t one of the strongest, but it is a validating valediction to fans of the two characters, who have won Willems two Geisel Medals and five Honors. Yes, Gerald and Piggie have ushered countless readers into literacy, but as they rightly note, reading is a collaborative act.

Thank you, Gerald and Piggie. We’ll miss you . (Early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7828-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2016

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

A BIKE LIKE SERGIO'S

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 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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