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EMPANADAS FOR EVERYONE

A yum for the tum and heart.

When Tía Mimi is gone for the day, it’s up to little Carina to make delicious empanadas.

Saturdays bring fun times and the pumping beats of salsa on the radio when Carina visits Tía Mimi to knead and fry empanadas and sing, “I like empanadas! I like you!” But then Tía Mimi goes to volunteer at the Community Meal Center one day. Oh no! Can Carina make empanadas on her own? Accompanied by her mom, Carina explores Tía Mimi’s barrio and gathers the ingredients she needs: coriander at Aamir’s Market (useful for samosas, too), achiote from Lila’s Jamaican patties street cart, “garlic from the market selling mandu, and onions from the deli selling pierogies.” Ah, and beef, which Carina gets from Mrs. Chang, who’s making dumplings. All set, Carina stirs up the food, but Tía Mimi still isn’t home when the sun slips down. To feed a busy Tía Mimi, Carina rallies the barrio and heads over to the Meal Center, each neighbor with food reminiscent of empanadas from their own culture. An ode to diverse communities, Kramer and Wen’s joint effort exudes compassion and generosity. Kramer overstuffs the narrative with lovely turns of phrases, although the story gets lost amid the lengthy vivid language at times. Full of warm colors like soft yellows and oranges, the artwork complements Carina’s adventure; Tía Mimi and Carina are Latine and brown-skinned, while the neighborhood is a diverse one. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A yum for the tum and heart. (author’s note, recipe for beef or chicken Puerto Rican empanadas) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2023

ISBN: 9781665914581

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2023

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ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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CLAYMATES

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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