This survey of languages is fun but superficial.

SOUNDS ALL AROUND

A GUIDE TO ONOMATOPOEIAS AROUND THE WORLD

This graphic survey of onomatopoeias takes on a global demographic of sounds.

The narrator is a smiling, golden star that appears on every page, introducing readers to an individual sound as it is expressed in different languages. Each chapter represents a category of sounds, starting with animal sounds, then moving on to loud noises and sounds the human body makes, before ending with the expressive sounds of emotions. Refreshingly, the survey ventures beyond Western European languages, including Malay, Latvian, Punjabi, Telugu, and Filipino, among others. Languages that do not use the Roman alphabet are transliterated, so an Arabic lion says, “zayiyr”; when bubbles pop in Russia they go, “chpok!”; and a Korean clock goes, “ddok ddak.” Though it’s easy to see how children can have fun mimicking the sounds expressed in the speech bubbles that dot the colorful cartoon illustrations, there is no appreciable education about the cultures represented. Some pages feature illustrations of human characters of various skin colors. While, admirably, there seems to be no racial correspondence of skin color to language, the narrator makes some jokes that fall flat, as when it declares its preference for classical music when a Danish duck says “rap,” or seems to make fun of Korean screams. There is no map to locate languages geographically for readers.

This survey of languages is fun but superficial. (Graphic nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5248-5076-0

Page Count: 168

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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With young readers diagnosed with anxiety in ever increasing numbers, this book offers a necessary mirror to many.

GUTS

Young Raina is 9 when she throws up for the first time that she remembers, due to a stomach bug. Even a year later, when she is in fifth grade, she fears getting sick.

Raina begins having regular stomachaches that keep her home from school. She worries about sharing food with her friends and eating certain kinds of foods, afraid of getting sick or food poisoning. Raina’s mother enrolls her in therapy. At first Raina isn’t sure about seeing a therapist, but over time she develops healthy coping mechanisms to deal with her stress and anxiety. Her therapist helps her learn to ground herself and relax, and in turn she teaches her classmates for a school project. Amping up the green, wavy lines to evoke Raina’s nausea, Telgemeier brilliantly produces extremely accurate visual representations of stress and anxiety. Thought bubbles surround Raina in some panels, crowding her with anxious “what if”s, while in others her negative self-talk appears to be literally crushing her. Even as she copes with anxiety disorder and what is eventually diagnosed as mild irritable bowel syndrome, she experiences the typical stresses of school life, going from cheer to panic in the blink of an eye. Raina is white, and her classmates are diverse; one best friend is Korean American.

With young readers diagnosed with anxiety in ever increasing numbers, this book offers a necessary mirror to many. (Graphic memoir. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-545-85251-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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Preposterous situations and farcical sound-alike sentences will elicit groans and giggles.

NO READING ALLOWED

THE WORST READ-ALOUD BOOK EVER

Homophones in versatile parallel sentences create absurd scenarios.

The pattern is simple but endlessly funny: Two sentences, each illustrated, sound the same but are differentiated by their use of homophones. On the verso of the opening spread a cartoon restaurant scene shows a diner lifting a plate of spaghetti and meatballs to a waiter who removes a dark hair from the plate of noodles: “The hair came forth.” (Both figures have brown skin.) Opposite, the scene shows a race with a tortoise at the finish line while a hare trails the tortoise, a snake, and a snail: “The hare came fourth.” The humorous line drawings feature an array of humans, animals, and monsters and provide support and context to the sentences, however bizarre they may seem. New vocabulary is constantly introduced, as is the idea that spelling and punctuation can alter meaning. Some pairings get quite sophisticated; others are rather forced. “The barred man looted the establishment. / The bard man luted the establishment” stretches the concept, paralleling barred with bard as adjectives and looted with luted as verbs. The former is an orange-jumpsuited White prisoner in a cell; the other, a brown-skinned musician strumming a lute for a racially diverse group of dancers. Poetic license may allow for luted, though the word lute is glaringly missing from the detailed glossary.

Preposterous situations and farcical sound-alike sentences will elicit groans and giggles. (Informational picture book. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-72820-659-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks eXplore

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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