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SOMETIMES I CRY

The perfect offering for children who want to understand why they cry.

All kinds of emotions can provoke tears.

A beige-skinned, dark-haired child zooms down a hill on a bicycle, thrilled by the high speed, but crashes after riding over a small rock. Nursing a bloody knee, the protagonist bursts into tears. Thus begins a sensitive, nuanced tale that normalizes crying and makes clear that it is a part of life. The young narrator tears up from joy while playing with Dad and laughing deep belly laughs, from rage when another kid crushes the protagonist’s origami frog, from shame at letting down the team and losing a baseball game, from fear of the dark, even from seeing Grandpa’s grief and love for Grandma, who’s deceased. Displaying an age-appropriate range of emotions and a profound maturity, the empathetic youngster comes to feel at home with these complicated feelings. Townes’ honest and resonant prose grounds readers in the protagonist’s life and offers superb opportunities for discussion about social-emotional development. With stirring echoes of Ezra Jack Keats in palette and line, Miyares’ illustrations are immersive without being overwhelming. Each scene presents a tapestry of saturated hues and tones—reds, blues, yellows—that convey the way this child experiences the world. A repeated motif of teardrops, appearing in different colors and sizes, further evokes the complexity of emotions. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

The perfect offering for children who want to understand why they cry. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2023

ISBN: 9780374308254

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2023

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IZZY GIZMO AND THE INVENTION CONVENTION

From the Izzy Gizmo series

A disappointing follow-up.

Inventor Izzy Gizmo is back in this sequel to her eponymous debut (2017).

While busily inventing one day, Izzy receives an invitation from the Genius Guild to their annual convention. Though Izzy’s “inventions…don’t always work,” Grandpa (apparently her sole caregiver) encourages her to go. The next day they undertake a long journey “over fields, hills, and waves” and “mile after mile” to isolated Technoff Isle. There, Izzy finds she must compete against four other kids to create the most impressive machine. The colorful, detail-rich illustrations chronicle how poor Izzy is thwarted at every turn by Abi von Lavish, a Veruca Salt–esque character who takes all the supplies for herself. But when Abi abandons her project, Izzy salvages the pieces and decides to take Grandpa’s advice to create a machine that “can really be put to good use.” A frustrated Izzy’s impatience with a friend almost foils her chance at the prize, but all’s well that ends well. There’s much to like: Brown-skinned inventor girl Izzy is an appealing character, it’s great to see a nurturing brown-skinned male caregiver, the idea of an “Invention Convention” is fun, and a sustainable-energy invention is laudable. However, these elements don’t make up for rhymes that often feel forced and a lackluster story.

A disappointing follow-up. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68263-164-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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HEY, DUCK!

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together.

A clueless duckling tries to make a new friend.

He is confused by this peculiar-looking duck, who has a long tail, doesn’t waddle and likes to be alone. No matter how explicitly the creature denies he is a duck and announces that he is a cat, the duckling refuses to acknowledge the facts.  When this creature expresses complete lack of interest in playing puddle stomp, the little ducking goes off and plays on his own. But the cat is not without remorse for rejecting an offered friendship. Of course it all ends happily, with the two new friends enjoying each other’s company. Bramsen employs brief sentences and the simplest of rhymes to tell this slight tale. The two heroes are meticulously drawn with endearing, expressive faces and body language, and their feathers and fur appear textured and touchable. Even the detailed tree bark and grass seem three-dimensional. There are single- and double-page spreads, panels surrounded by white space and circular and oval frames, all in a variety of eye-pleasing juxtapositions. While the initial appeal is solidly visual, young readers will get the gentle message that friendship is not something to take for granted but is to be embraced with open arms—or paws and webbed feet.

A sweet, tender and charming experience to read aloud or together. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-375-86990-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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