AN INVITATION TO THE BUTTERFLY BALL

A COUNTING RHYME

Ironically, whereas Yolen takes time off from her self-consciously exquisite fairy tales for the sort of precious but diminutive bauble you'd associate with Zalben, the illustrator suits her style to Yolen's usual elegance. Though it looks longer, the text is mainly a series of ten couplets—from "One little mouse in great distress/ Looks all over for a floor-length dress" to "Ten little porcupines set up a racket,/ As they fight for the velvet evening jacket"—in which various small creatures search, sort, clamor and wail for specific items of clothing to wear to the butterfly ball for which a winged little elfin figure delivers invitations. But as each new set of animals is introduced all the previous lines are reiterated, and Yolen adds two final lines bringing them all to their destination: "Knock knock. . . Who's come to call?/WE HAVE! We've all come to the Butterfly Ball." Zalben's delicate fine line animals scurry in preparation—and cavort on arrival—within, amidst and upon rainbow colored swirls, patterened numerals and sheer decoration. Her watercolors do clothe the whole enterprise in finery well suited to such an occasion; the question is whether Yolen offers enough entertainment to justify the fancy dress.

Pub Date: March 1, 1976

ISBN: 1563976927

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Parents Magazine Press

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1976

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A substantive and affirming addition to any collection.

THE ABCS OF BLACK HISTORY

An impressive array of names, events, and concepts from Black history are introduced in this alphabet book for early-elementary readers.

From A for anthem (“a banner of song / that wraps us in hope, lets us know we belong”) to Z for zenith (“the top of that mountain King said we would reach”), this picture book is a journey through episodes, ideas, and personalities that represent a wide range of Black experiences. Some spreads celebrate readers themselves, like B for beautiful (“I’m talking to you!”); others celebrate accomplishments, such as E for explore (Matthew Henson, Mae Jemison), or experiences, like G for the Great Migration. The rhyming verses are light on the tongue, making the reading smooth and soothing. The brightly colored, folk art–style illustrations offer vibrant scenes of historical and contemporary Black life, with common people and famous people represented in turn. Whether reading straight through and poring over each page or flipping about to look at the refreshing scenes full of brown and black faces, readers will feel pride and admiration for the resilience and achievements of Black people and a call to participate in the “unfinished…American tale.” Endnotes clarify terms and figures, and a resource list includes child-friendly books, websites, museums, and poems.

A substantive and affirming addition to any collection. (Informational picture book. 6-11)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5235-0749-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants.

A WORLD TOGETHER

Large color photographs (occasionally composed of montages) and accessible, simple text highlight global similarities and differences, always focusing on our universal connections.

While child readers may not recognize Manzano, the Puerto Rican actress who played Maria on Sesame Street, adults will recognize her as a trusted diverse voice. In her endnote, she explains her desire to “encourage lively conversations about shared experiences.” Starting out with the familiar, home and community, the text begins with “How many WONDERFUL PEOPLE do you know?” Then it moves out to the world: “Did you know there are about 8 BILLION PEOPLE on the planet?” The photo essay features the usual concrete similarities and differences found in many books of this type, such as housing (a Mongolian yurt opposite a Hong Kong apartment building overlooking a basketball court), food (dumplings, pizza, cotton candy, a churro, etc.), and school. Manzano also makes sure to point out likenesses in emotions, as shown in a montage of photos from countries including China, Spain, Kashmir (Pakistan/India), and the United States. At the end, a world map and thumbnail images show the locations of all photos, revealing a preponderance of examples from the U.S. and a slight underrepresentation for Africa and South America.

Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3738-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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