This delightful trip will be savored again and again.

READ REVIEW

THE CAMPING TRIP

A young black girl experiences her first-ever camping trip, invited along by her aunt and cousin.

Ernestine, the immediately likable narrator, has never been camping, but she knows she is going to love it. She is thoroughly prepared, barely fitting all the gear her aunt listed into her duffel bag. When at last Aunt Jackie arrives, Ernestine says goodbye to her dad. She and her cousin amuse themselves in the car until they arrive at the campground: a full-bleed, double-page spread of lake and trees and mountains that will have readers ready to break out their own tents. After working hard to set up their tent, the girls are ready for a swim—but newbie Ernestine, who loves swimming at the Y, is surprised to find there are fish in the pond. After lunch, they all go on a hike, but someone seems to have packed too much in her backpack. A campfire, dinner, s’mores, some tossing and turning in her sleeping bag, a touch of homesickness, and a star-filled night all await the narrator in her memorable trip that is full of surprises. Experienced campers will smile knowingly while the inexperienced will gain tips about how real camping compares to the imagined. Mann’s thin, sometime-scribbly lines and earth-toned colors capture the child’s viewpoint masterfully, and the variety of layouts, from pages full of small vignettes with speech bubbles to spread-spanning landscapes, carries readers through anticipation, humor, and awe in this longer-than-usual picture-book/graphic-novel hybrid. All characters are black.

This delightful trip will be savored again and again. (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0736-1

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Cool beans indeed.

THE COOL BEAN

A supposed “has-bean” shows that coolness has more to do with deeds than demeanor.

Offering further moral instruction in this leguminous cousin to The Bad Seed (2017) and The Good Egg (2019), Oswald portrays three beans—each a different species but all sporting boss shades, fly threads, and that requisite air of nonchalance—bringing the cool to streets, hallways, playgrounds, and Leguma Beach. Meanwhile, a fourth (a scraggly-haired chickpea), whose efforts to echo the look and the ’tude have fallen flat, takes on the role of nerdy narrator to recall “olden days” when they all hung out in the same pod. Still, despite rolling separate ways (nobody’s fault: “That’s just how it is sometimes. You spend less time together, even though you’re not totally sure why”), when the uncool bean drops a lunch tray, skins a kid knee on the playground, or just needs a hint in class, one of the others is always on the scene toot suite. No biggie. And passing those casual acts of kindness forward? “Now that’s cool.” John’s good-hearted text makes some hay with the bean puns while Oswald’s pipe-stemmed limbs, googly eyes, and accessories give these anthropomorphic legumes lots of personality. As a fava to young audiences, pair with Jamie Michalak and Frank Kolar’s Frank and Bean (2019) for a musical combination.

Cool beans indeed. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-295452-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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