Grandmas who believe in the Jenny Craig weight-loss program are the only possible market for this book.

I BELIEVE IN GENEVIEVE

Weight-loss guru Craig offers lifestyle advice for children wrapped up in a sugary junk-food version of a pony story. 

Young Genevieve (who goes by Jenny) wants to swap work at a nearby stable for a chance to attend a summer riding camp. The owner accepts and offers her the use of an old horse she names Candy Ride. They both love sugared snacks, but the goodies make her and her horse feel awful, while exercise and healthy eating transform them into horse-show champions. Although the introduction features a photograph of a racehorse Craig once owned, she cuts a lot of literary corners in her representation of basic horse care—the idea that a child could alter a lesson horse’s feeding plan is preposterous, as is the idea that the horses wouldn’t have been appropriately fed already by the stable owner. As for the likelihood of a girl who isn’t strong enough to ride lifting hay bales as a workout? Those bales weigh between 40 and 70 pounds each. Edelson’s colorful watercolor illustrations likewise play fast and loose with horse anatomy and tack—some is completely impossible—and, aside from one vaguely well-tanned girl, feature only white girls as riders.

Grandmas who believe in the Jenny Craig weight-loss program are the only possible market for this book. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-62157-085-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Regnery

Review Posted Online: June 26, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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Precious—but timely and comforting all the same.

WHILE WE CAN'T HUG

From the Hedgehog and Tortoise Story series

The two creatures who fulfilled each other’s yearning for physical contact in The Hug (2019) find alternative ways to connect in a time of social distancing.

Blushing and smiling and looking every bit as sweet as they did in their original meet-cute, Hedgehog and Tortoise respond to Owl’s reassurance that “there are lots of ways to show someone you love them” by standing on opposing pages and sending signals, letters, dances, air kisses, and songs across the gutter. Demonstrating their mutual love and friendship, they regard each other fondly across the gap through sun and storm, finally gesturing air hugs beneath a rainbow of colors and stars. “They could not touch. / They could not hug. // But they both knew / that they were loved.” In line with the minimalist narrative and illustrations there is no mention of the enforced separation’s cause nor, aside from the titular conjunction, any hint of its possible duration. Still, its core affirmation is delivered in a simple, direct, unmistakable way, and if the thematic connection with the previous outing seems made to order for a marketing opportunity, it does address a widespread emotional need in young (and maybe not so young) audiences. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9.8-by-19.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 78% of actual size.)

Precious—but timely and comforting all the same. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-5713-6558-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Faber & Faber

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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Heartwarming and illuminating.

KISIMI TAIMAIPPAKTUT ANGIRRARIJARANI / ONLY IN MY HOMETOWN

Life in a snowy northern town, from a child’s perspective and written both in Inuktitut and English

One-story houses in multiple colors sit close together beneath a cloudy blue sky, their roofs covered with snow. A little girl sits on a large metallic tube looking straight ahead. “Sitting on an elephant, always remembering what my mom said.” The next picture pulls back for a wider view; the girl is on an oil drum or water tank. Below her are some nondescript buildings and two children riding bicycles on a quiet rural road. The book’s text is a reflective poem. Stanzas end with the repeated line, “Only in my hometown.” Inside the house, so many children are playing that care needs to be taken to avoid stepping on their toys. Nearby four women share a feast of raw meat, in which the little girl is delighted to partake. Outside, blizzards can last for weeks, covering everything with snow. And then the darkness comes, enveloping the region. The northern lights dance. Everyone can be called family “in my hometown.” The sister collaborators work in harmony. Angnakuluk Friesen’s poetic text is fluid and evocative, and Ippiksaut Friesen’s illustrations, painted with watercolor and acrylic “on elephant poo paper,” then composited digitally, are lovely works of folk art. Inuktitut is rendered both in its own symbology and Romanized.

Heartwarming and illuminating. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-55498-883-9

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2017

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