For a story that places its emphasis on the exponential math of doubling generations, the facts don’t add up.


Witnesses in turn to wagon trains west, the first streetlight, the Great Depression, and World War II, the generations give way to Woodstock’s wild child and social media maniacs.

Regardless of when in time one happens to browse, a grandmother is making sure the next generations are happy and whole. The narration unfolds in a second-person address, so eight greats in the past has “your” ancestor cruising the 1700s. Five greats back finds “your” three-steps-nearer forebear in a one-room schoolhouse in the 1800s. Three greats has her feet planted in the early 1900s. And finally, the latest in a line of grinning wonders (all White-presenting) is smiling out into the 21st century. Solheim takes a 250-year-long trek to illustrate the generational chain that ends with a young mother and her daughter. However, his chronology doesn’t quite mesh with the narrative. “You” are the young hippie’s grandchild, newborn child of the baby she took to Woodstock in 1969. Yet “your” youthful-looking mother must be in her 40s as she holds a swaddled-up “you,” with “your” ex-hippie grandma and other relatives snapping pics on their smartphones. This is not the only extreme generational step. Desierto’s colorful collage images are also out of sync with the narrative. A family with only one bowl to their name has a tablecloth, a pitcher, and a matching cup? A concluding page presents a chart illustrating the number of grandmas that converge in a single person. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.5-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

For a story that places its emphasis on the exponential math of doubling generations, the facts don’t add up. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-267123-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2020

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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.


All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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Positively refreshing.

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A black girl helps her dad learn how to give her the perfect hairstyle for a very special day.

Zuri’s voluminous head of hair “has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way.” She is pictured asleep with a large Afro framing her face. She is proud of her hair, which she sometimes wears in braids with beads like a princess and other times in pigtail puffs. But today is a special day. She knows Daddy is “worn-out” and probably needs a break, so she lets him sleep in while she looks up hairstyles on a tablet. When Daddy wakes and offers to help, he tries a series of hairstyles that just don’t work. Finally, Zuri grabs some hair supplies and shows him a tutorial. “Watching carefully… / Daddy combed, / parted, oiled, and twisted. / He nailed it!” Zuri is lovely and happy with her freshly done hairstyle, and when Mommy arrives to their “Welcome Home” sign, she loves Zuri’s look too. The digital illustrations feature details that feel just right: Zuri’s thick, textured hair, Daddy’s locs and tattoo, and dark-skinned Mom’s bright headwrap. While it’s unclear where Mommy is returning from (she is dressed casually and has a rolling black suitcase), this authentic depiction of a loving and whole black family broadens the scope of representation.

Positively refreshing. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55336-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kokila

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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