TAKE TWO!

A CELEBRATION OF TWINS

Veteran poets tap into the never-ending interest in twins with a collection of poetry dedicated to twosomes.

Children’s poet laureate Lewis, a twin himself, and prolific children’s poet Yolen, the grandmother of twins, present 44 poems about twins. Readers will have to guess each poem’s originator, however, as none of the poems are signed. Divided into four sections comprising “Twins in the Waiting Womb,” “Twinfants,” “How to Be One” (about childhood with a twin) and “Famous Twins,” the poems explore milestones as twins, the push and pull of twin relationships and the need for individuality. Although some of the poems just reach mediocre, others are positively endearing (“Good night, / Good night. / The single moon / Shines down. / And soon / One sleep / You’ll share”). Readers will enjoy dipping into the book and savoring a few poems at a time rather than reading the book in its entirety, as taken altogether, the prevailing rhythmic rhyme can become monotonous. Intermittent twin facts run along the bottom, while Blackall, illustrator of another popular pair, Ivy + Bean, enhances the collection with a variety of twin sets in her signature patterned illustrations, rendered in watercolor, pencil and painted paper collage. Children may muse at the twin depictions, but the real consumers will be the proud caregivers of twins.

T-winsome. (Poetry. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-3702-6

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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Well-meaning and with a lovely presentation, this sentimental effort may be aimed more at adults than kids.

MY LITTLE BRAVE GIRL

Little girls are given encouragement and assurance so they can meet the challenges of life as they move through the big, wide world.

Delicately soft watercolor-style art depicts naturalistic scenes with a diverse quintet of little girls portraying potential situations they will encounter, as noted by a narrative heavily dependent on a series of clichés. “The stars are high, and you can reach them,” it promises as three of the girls chase fireflies under a star-filled night sky. “Oceans run deep, and you will learn to swim,” it intones as one girl treads water and another leans over the edge of a boat to observe life on the ocean floor. “Your feet will take many steps, my brave little girl. / Let your heart lead the way.” Girls gingerly step across a brook before making their way through a meadow. The point of all these nebulous metaphors seems to be to inculcate in girls the independence, strength, and confidence they’ll need to succeed in their pursuits. Trying new things, such as foods, is a “delicious new adventure.” Though the quiet, gentle text is filled with uplifting words that parents will intuitively relate to or comprehend, the esoteric messages may be a bit sentimental and ambiguous for kids to understand or even connect to. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.5-by-19-inch double-page spreads viewed at 50% of actual size.)

Well-meaning and with a lovely presentation, this sentimental effort may be aimed more at adults than kids. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-30072-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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STELLA BRINGS THE FAMILY

At school, everyone is excited about the upcoming Mother’s Day celebration except for Stella. She is not sure what she will do since she has two dads and no mom.

Stella is easy to spot on the page with her curly red hair but also because she looks so worried. She is not sure what she is going to do for the party. When her classmates ask her what is the matter and she tells them she has no mom to bring, they begin asking more questions. “Who packs your lunch like my mom does for me?” “Who reads you bedtime stories like my mothers do for me?” “Who kisses you when you are hurt?” Stella has Daddy and Papa and other relatives who do all of those things. As the students decorate and craft invitations, “Stella worked harder than everyone.” The day of the event arrives, and Stella shows up with her fathers, uncle, aunt, cousin, and Nonna. And it all turns out well. One student brings his two moms, and another child invites his grandmother since his mother is away. Debut picture-book author Schiffer creates a story featuring diverse modern families that children will recognize from their own direct experiences or from their classrooms or communities. She keeps the text closely focused on Stella’s feelings, and Clifton-Brown chooses finely detailed watercolors to illustrate Stella’s initial troubles and eventual happiness.

Essential. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 5, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4521-1190-2

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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