Each year, the women in Marisa's family, living in the Hawaiian islands, gather to prepare dumplings ("mandoo'') for the New Year's celebration—and this year Marisa is old enough to help. After she's wrapped her dumplings, she worries throughout the New Year's Eve festivities with her large clan (mostly Korean) that they aren't good enough; but then Grandma makes Marisa's dumplings a featured part of the first meal of the new year. It seems grudging to apply words like "didactic'' to such an openhearted exercise in multiculturalism, but the book's packaging—including a publisher's note explaining the importance of diversity—is so insistent that it nearly sinks the capable storytelling and illustration. Still, Rattigan's scenes of bustling domesticity have a cozy immediacy; Hsu-Flanders's watercolors joyfully crowd the small rooms of their Hawaiian home with happy relatives of all sizes, dressed in bright, patterned clothing (though only the narrator's hair style differentiates her from her cousins). Foreign words and phrases are readily decoded from context (except for a few food names); many also appear in a glossary of Hawaiian, Japanese, English, and Korean terms. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-316-73445-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1993


A book that will make young dog-owners smile in recognition and confirm dogless readers' worst suspicions about the mayhem caused by pets, even winsome ones. Sam, who bears passing resemblance to an affable golden retriever, is praised for fetching the family newspaper, and goes on to fetch every other newspaper on the block. In the next story, only the children love Sam's swimming; he is yelled at by lifeguards and fishermen alike when he splashes through every watering hole he can find. Finally, there is woe to the entire family when Sam is bored and lonely for one long night. Boland has an essential message, captured in both both story and illustrations of this Easy-to-Read: Kids and dogs belong together, especially when it's a fun-loving canine like Sam. An appealing tale. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8037-1530-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1996


Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions.

Ellis, known for her illustrations for Colin Meloy’s Wildwood series, here riffs on the concept of “home.”

Shifting among homes mundane and speculative, contemporary and not, Ellis begins and ends with views of her own home and a peek into her studio. She highlights palaces and mansions, but she also takes readers to animal homes and a certain famously folkloric shoe (whose iconic Old Woman manages a passel of multiethnic kids absorbed in daring games). One spread showcases “some folks” who “live on the road”; a band unloads its tour bus in front of a theater marquee. Ellis’ compelling ink and gouache paintings, in a palette of blue-grays, sepia and brick red, depict scenes ranging from mythical, underwater Atlantis to a distant moonscape. Another spread, depicting a garden and large building under connected, transparent domes, invites readers to wonder: “Who in the world lives here? / And why?” (Earth is seen as a distant blue marble.) Some of Ellis’ chosen depictions, oddly juxtaposed and stripped of any historical or cultural context due to the stylized design and spare text, become stereotypical. “Some homes are boats. / Some homes are wigwams.” A sailing ship’s crew seems poised to land near a trio of men clad in breechcloths—otherwise unidentified and unremarked upon.

Visually accomplished but marred by stereotypical cultural depictions. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 24, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6529-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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