Bright, enticing cartoon illustrations and a character many can identify with will hook storytimers and new readers.

READ REVIEW

ELWOOD BIGFOOT

WANTED: BIRDIE FRIENDS!

Elwood Bigfoot is lonely…won’t any birdie be his friend?

In the morning he sips his tea alone. In the afternoon he picks berries alone. And at night he’s lonely in his cave. Elwood Bigfoot wants nothing more than to have birdies for friends, but they always fly away from him. Maybe if he only had a home in a tree like theirs, they’d love him. He builds a treehouse, but they don’t come. He dresses like them (with beak and feathers), sings like them, eats like them…but they always fly away from him. Even a housewarming party doesn’t draw them. He builds a birdie theme park…but even that doesn’t work—until he comes to the realization that it is his loud, boisterous enthusiasm that scares the birds away. He quiets down…and is suddenly the birdie magnet he has always wanted to be. Esbaum’s sweet tale of a friendship-seeking bigfoot is a good title to hand to those not quite ready for chapter books. The relatively lengthy yet still simple text will keep them interested without unduly challenging their new reading skills. Wragg’s adorable, snaggle-toothed bigfoot is the real star here; his black-dot eyes and wide grin will easily charm the kids (and birds).

Bright, enticing cartoon illustrations and a character many can identify with will hook storytimers and new readers. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4549-0879-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sterling

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.

SNOW PLACE LIKE HOME

From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

Ice princess Lina must navigate family and school in this early chapter read.

The family picnic is today. This is not a typical gathering, since Lina’s maternal relatives are a royal family of Windtamers who have power over the weather and live in castles floating on clouds. Lina herself is mixed race, with black hair and a tan complexion like her Asian-presenting mother’s; her Groundling father appears to be a white human. While making a grand entrance at the castle of her grandfather, the North Wind, she fails to successfully ride a gust of wind and crashes in front of her entire family. This prompts her stern grandfather to ask that Lina move in with him so he can teach her to control her powers. Desperate to avoid this, Lina and her friend Claudia, who is black, get Lina accepted at the Hilltop Science and Arts Academy. Lina’s parents allow her to go as long as she does lessons with grandpa on Saturdays. However, fitting in at a Groundling school is rough, especially when your powers start freak winter storms! With the story unfurling in diary format, bright-pink–highlighted grayscale illustrations help move the plot along. There are slight gaps in the storytelling and the pacing is occasionally uneven, but Lina is full of spunk and promotes self-acceptance.

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35393-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles.

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YOU MATTER

Employing a cast of diverse children reminiscent of that depicted in Another (2019), Robinson shows that every living entity has value.

After opening endpapers that depict an aerial view of a busy playground, the perspective shifts to a black child, ponytails tied with beaded elastics, peering into a microscope. So begins an exercise in perspective. From those bits of green life under the lens readers move to “Those who swim with the tide / and those who don’t.” They observe a “pest”—a mosquito biting a dinosaur, a “really gassy” planet, and a dog whose walker—a child in a pink hijab—has lost hold of the leash. Periodically, the examples are validated with the titular refrain. Textured paint strokes and collage elements contrast with uncluttered backgrounds that move from white to black to white. The black pages in the middle portion foreground scenes in space, including a black astronaut viewing Earth; the astronaut is holding an image of another black youngster who appears on the next spread flying a toy rocket and looking lonely. There are many such visual connections, creating emotional interest and invitations for conversation. The story’s conclusion spins full circle, repeating opening sentences with new scenarios. From the microscopic to the cosmic, word and image illuminate the message without a whiff of didacticism.

Whimsy, intelligence, and a subtle narrative thread make this rise to the top of a growing list of self-love titles. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2169-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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