An encouraging story of new beginnings.

A recently arrived child from Colombia misses her father and her friends back home, so she looks forward to her first day of school and making new friends.

As Isabella looks out the window, the world outside feels strange, and “the United States is cold and gray.” Her mother assures her she will make new friends in school. Eagerly anticipating the first day of school, Isabella readies her new jeans and “fluffy orange sweater” as well as her school supplies. But when her “make-new-friends day” finally arrives, it is snowing and school is cancelled. With her dreams of new friends dashed, Isabella stares out the window where the snow looks like “a thousand white butterflies.” When she sees a girl fall in the snow, Isabella runs out to help only to discover the girl grinning—she has just made a snow angel. After spending a day playing outside, making more angels and building a snowman, Isabella is delighted. She has made a friend. Maldonado’s charming illustrations are simple and colorful, depicting a brown-skinned girl with two cute little braids sticking out on either side of her head. Katie, Isabella’s new friend, wears glasses and has pale skin and straight red hair. The story is a little bland and predictable, which lends it a sweet and reassuring feel. Many a newly arrived child will recognize Isabella’s homesickness and need for reassurance that life will work out in this new country. Isabella narrates in English, the dialogue within her family entirely in Spanish; the fact that she and Katie speak only in their own languages interferes not a whit in their play

An encouraging story of new beginnings. (authors' notes, more info, glossary) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-58089-577-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021


A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy.

Robo-parents Diode and Lugnut present daughter Cathode with a new little brother—who requires, unfortunately, some assembly.

Arriving in pieces from some mechanistic version of Ikea, little Flange turns out to be a cute but complicated tyke who immediately falls apart…and then rockets uncontrollably about the room after an overconfident uncle tinkers with his basic design. As a squad of helpline techies and bevies of neighbors bearing sludge cake and like treats roll in, the cluttered and increasingly crowded scene deteriorates into madcap chaos—until at last Cath, with help from Roomba-like robodog Sprocket, stages an intervention by whisking the hapless new arrival off to a backyard workshop for a proper assembly and software update. “You’re such a good big sister!” warbles her frazzled mom. Wiesner’s robots display his characteristic clean lines and even hues but endearingly look like vaguely anthropomorphic piles of random jet-engine parts and old vacuum cleaners loosely connected by joints of armored cable. They roll hither and thither through neatly squared-off panels and pages in infectiously comical dismay. Even the end’s domestic tranquility lasts only until Cathode spots the little box buried in the bigger one’s packing material: “TWINS!” (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 52% of actual size.)

A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-544-98731-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020


From the Diary of a Pug series , Vol. 1

Totes adorbs.

A cuddly, squishy pug’s puggy-wuggy diary.

Equipped with both #pugunicorn and #pughotdog outfits, pug Baron von Bubbles (aka Bub) is the kind of dog that always dresses to impress. Bub also makes lots of memorable faces, such as the “Hey, you’re not the boss of me!” expression aimed at Duchess, the snooty pink house cat. Some of Bub’s favorite things include skateboarding, a favorite teddy, and eating peanut butter. Bub also loves Bella, who adopted Bub from a fair—it was “love at first sniff.” Together, Bub and Bella do a lot of arts and crafts. Their latest project: entering Bella’s school’s inventor challenge by making a super-duper awesome rocket. But, when the pesky neighborhood squirrel, Nutz, makes off with Bub’s bear, Bub accidentally ruins their project. How will they win the contest? More importantly, how will Bella ever forgive him? May’s cutesy, full-color cartoon art sets the tone for this pug-tastic romp for the new-to–chapter-books crowd. Emojilike faces accentuate Bub’s already expressive character design. Bub’s infectious first-person narration pushes the silly factor off the charts. In addition to creating the look and feel of a diary, the lined paper helps readers follow the eight-chapter story. Most pages have fewer than five sentences, often broken into smaller sections. Additional text appears in color-coded speech bubbles. Bella presents white.

Totes adorbs. (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-53003-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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