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A dream team of talent show and tell a delightful story of summers gone by.

Kids burst out of school and into summer vacation.

Now they can play outside all day till the streetlights come on, when moms call them home. This nostalgic homage to Woodson’s childhood in her beloved Brooklyn evokes the senses: the sounds of laughter and double Dutch rhymes, the sight of sidewalk chalk and bottle cap games, and the taste of an ice cream cone with rainbow sprinkles from the ice cream truck. The refrain, “In Brooklyn / in the summer / not so long ago,” appears in text the color of summer heat: red, orange, yellow. The bell-bottom plaid pants; white, knee-high, color-ringed tube socks; and loud-and-proud Afros pinpoint this story’s ’60s or ’70s setting. The amazing diversity of the neighborhood comes through both in Espinosa’s lively, colorful retro illustrations, which depict Black, brown, and White children, and Woodson’s lyrical text, which describes kids calling “out to each other / in Spanish / in English / in Polish / in German / in Chinese.” They also get along well, with the older kids looking out for the younger ones and those with ice cream money sharing with those without “because some days the ones with no money / were us.” Espinosa depicts many characters with mouths wide open, emphasizing their unbridled delight and loudness. Author and illustrator offer a refreshing reminder of a pre-internet time when full-immersion play was the summer activity and kids took full advantage. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A dream team of talent show and tell a delightful story of summers gone by. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-399-54549-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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From the Phil & Lil Book series

Amusing but misleading on the nutritional and behavioral fronts.

With one taste of despised mustard, a child pivots from rejecting new foods to seeking them.

Dad takes Lil to a food truck festival. Lil, who narrates the story, is nervous; this child’s list of acceptable foods is short (pizza, rice, grilled cheese, french fries, and vanilla ice cream). Dad loves varied tastes and repeatedly reminds Lil of his rule: “Just try it!” With a “YECCCH!” or an “EWWWWWW!” Lil refuses a bagel loaded with toppings, linguini with clams, Peking duck, pizza with spinach and garlic, and a pretzel covered with Lil’s most hated of foods: mustard. Frustrated, Lil accidentally knocks the pretzel onto Dad’s shirt. Lil apologizes, takes a lick of mustard…and instantly learns to appreciate every rejected offering. Lil then uses the title mantra to pressure Dad onto a nausea-inducing roller-coaster ride. Bright, cartoon-style illustrations emphasize the pair's upbeat mood. Food neophobia, or an aversion to eating anything novel, has complex psychosocial roots. But in this blithe little fable, the child’s resistance is completely overcome with a single accidental exposure, and the formerly picky eater immediately becomes a novelty seeker. The turnaround here is implausible; if this book creates any expectations of a sudden dramatic change in a child’s behavior, that would be a disservice. Both Dad and Lil are light-skinned.

Amusing but misleading on the nutritional and behavioral fronts. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781665942638

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2023

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