Feathers and friendship make for a good pairing in this gentle ode to appreciating both.

LOVE BIRDS

When birds are easier to speak to than people, what do you do when you meet another bird lover?

It’s been a month, and Jon still hasn’t spoken to another kid his age since he moved to town. Still, while he may not talk much, he’s an excellent listener. He listens particularly to birds of all sorts, in the fields and the skies. One evening he hears a barred owl and imitates its song. Yet when he follows its response, he instead finds a girl and fellow bird lover named Janet. Together they talk and listen together, “for days and weeks, / and into the years.” While Yolen’s author’s note states that this book is a partner to her Caldecott Award winner Owl Moon (1987), illustrated by John Schoenherr, it might be more accurate to say it exists in the same universe. The story sets up a nice series of contrasts (Jon’s mother’s chattiness versus her son’s silence versus the give and take of Jon and Janet’s conversations). Meanwhile Wilson weaves images of birds into an array of panels. Delicious details also hide in the cracks of these pictures, like the images on a page opposite the author’s note depicting photographs of Jon and Janet growing older, marrying, and having children to bird with. Jon and his mother are light-skinned, and Janet presents Black. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Feathers and friendship make for a good pairing in this gentle ode to appreciating both. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-951836-40-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cameron Kids

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022

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This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez,...

MANGO, ABUELA, AND ME

Abuela is coming to stay with Mia and her parents. But how will they communicate if Mia speaks little Spanish and Abuela, little English? Could it be that a parrot named Mango is the solution?

The measured, evocative text describes how Mia’s español is not good enough to tell Abuela the things a grandmother should know. And Abuela’s English is too poquito to tell Mia all the stories a granddaughter wants to hear. Mia sets out to teach her Abuela English. A red feather Abuela has brought with her to remind her of a wild parrot that roosted in her mango trees back home gives Mia an idea. She and her mother buy a parrot they name Mango. And as Abuela and Mia teach Mango, and each other, to speak both Spanish and English, their “mouths [fill] with things to say.” The accompanying illustrations are charmingly executed in ink, gouache, and marker, “with a sprinkling of digital magic.” They depict a cheery urban neighborhood and a comfortable, small apartment. Readers from multigenerational immigrant families will recognize the all-too-familiar language barrier. They will also cheer for the warm and loving relationship between Abuela and Mia, which is evident in both text and illustrations even as the characters struggle to understand each other. A Spanish-language edition, Mango, Abuela, y yo, gracefully translated by Teresa Mlawer, publishes simultaneously.

This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez, an honoree. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6900-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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