Fails to engage.

READ REVIEW

GROWING UP ON THE PLAYGROUND/NUESTRO PATIO DE RECREO

Ana and her friends enjoy the school playground until they outgrow it in the sixth grade.

On her first day of kindergarten, Ana goes down the slide to her new friends waiting at the bottom to meet her. As the school years go by, each year brings a new source of pleasure on the playground. In the first grade, another new friend encourages her to swing high. In the second grade, an outing to the zoo inspires a monkey game. In the third grade, basketball skills are developed, and in the fourth grade, she teaches her friend to play handball. In the fifth grade, the friends play soccer. But when they get to sixth grade, it is time to leave the playground for the younger kids. As they prepare to leave, they first relive all the games they played throughout their primary school years. Then it is time to say goodbye—until Ana returns to her school and playground, as a teacher. Always dressed in uniforms that suggest a parochial school, perhaps, the children come from different ethnic backgrounds. Ana herself has brown skin and long, black hair. The illustrations have a frozen, static feel, even when portraying the children in full movement, and the retrospective, nostalgic tone seems more appropriate to an adult audience than children. As is often the case with bilingual books, the pages can at times look very text heavy, with English above and Spanish beneath.

Fails to engage. (Bilingual picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-55885-871-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Piñata Books/Arté Público

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.

IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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In contrast to the carbs and desserts pictured, though sweet, this is unlikely to stick with readers.

BAGEL IN LOVE

A romance for carb (and pun!) lovers who dance to their own drummers and don’t give up on their dreams.

Bagel is a guy who loves to dance; when he’s tapping and twirling, he doesn’t feel plain. The problem is, he can’t find a partner for the Cherry Jubilee Dance Contest. Poppy says his steps are half-baked. Pretzel, “who was at the spa getting a salt rub…told him his moves didn’t cut the mustard.” He strikes out in Sweet City, too, with Croissant, Doughnut, and Cake. But just when he’s given up, he hears the music from the contest and can’t help moving his feet. And an echoing tap comes back to him. Could it be a partner at last? Yep, and she just happens to smell sweet and have frosting piled high. Bagel and Cupcake crush the contest, but winning the trophy? That “was just icing on the cake,” as the final sentence reads, the two standing proudly with a blue ribbon and trophy, hearts filling the space above and between them. Dardik’s digital illustrations are pastel confections. Sometimes just the characters’ heads are the treats, and other times the whole body is the foodstuff, with tiny arms and legs added on. Even the buildings are like something from “Hansel and Gretel.” However, this pun-filled narrative is just one of many of its ilk, good for a few yuks but without much staying power.

In contrast to the carbs and desserts pictured, though sweet, this is unlikely to stick with readers. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4549-2239-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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