A tale of generosity, faith and friendship. Share it quietly within and with others.

READ REVIEW

HOUSE ON DIRTY-THIRD STREET

A girl and her mother move into an old, run-down house and dare to dream that one day it will become a cozy home.

The story is tinged with an underlying heartache from the very start: “Mom said starting over would be an adventure, so I imagined a tropical island with palm trees and buried treasure. / Not this.” All of the houses on 33rd Street are old, but one in particular is falling apart. The understandably crabby young narrator proclaims it to be “Dirty-third Street.” Mother and daughter set to work cleaning and scrubbing, but there are so many other needed repairs, it seems hopeless. In a poignant example of a child’s quiet strength, the narrator asks for help the next day at church. She wishes to see the house with eyes of faith; she wants to picture the potential instead of disappointment. Suddenly friends and neighbors start dropping by, each doing a small turn to help out. It’s not “Dirty-third Street” anymore. Gonzalez’s illustrations start pale, with a few tints of color and heavily sketched details. But when a spark of hope emerges, and the tide turns, cheeks are flushed and eyes start to sparkle. The sky blazes with a warm sunset on the final full-color spread.

A tale of generosity, faith and friendship. Share it quietly within and with others. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-56145-619-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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Fun but earnest, this rhyming romp reminds readers that one young person can make a difference.

SOFIA VALDEZ, FUTURE PREZ

From the Questioneers series

Sofia Valdez proves that community organizers of any age can have a positive impact.

After a trash-heap eyesore causes an injury to her beloved abuelo, Sofia springs into action to bring big change to her neighborhood. The simple rhymes of the text follow Sofia on her journey from problem through ideas to action as she garners community support for an idyllic new park to replace the dangerous junk pile. When bureaucracy threatens to quash Sofia’s nascent plan, she digs deep and reflects that “being brave means doing the thing you must do, / though your heart cracks with fear. / Though you’re just in Grade Two.” Sofia’s courage yields big results and inspires those around her to lend a hand. Implied Latinx, Sofia and her abuelo have medium brown skin, and Sofia has straight brown hair (Abuelo is bald). Readers will recognize Iggy Peck, Rosie Revere, and Ada Twist from Beaty’s previous installments in the Questioneers series making cameo appearances in several scenes. While the story connects back to the title and her aptitude for the presidency in only the second-to-last sentence of the book, Sofia’s leadership and grit are themes throughout. Roberts’ signature illustration style lends a sense of whimsy; detailed drawings will have readers scouring each page for interesting minutiae.

Fun but earnest, this rhyming romp reminds readers that one young person can make a difference. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3704-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

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Droll humor that’s sure to elicit guffaws.

PLEASE DON'T EAT ME

A bunny negotiates with a bear to avoid becoming lunch.

Burrowing along happily through the soil, a tiny white rabbit is stopped short by the beauty of a daisy. Unfortunately, a bear steps out from behind a tree at precisely the same moment. There’s no mistaking the bunny’s disappointment at the timing of the situation: “Aw, nuts.” The bear is hungry, so the quick-thinking rabbit proposes ordering a pizza. The pair share a pie, but before the bunny can leave, Bear muses, “It just doesn’t feel like a meal without dessert.” Will the bunny be dessert?! No. A chuckleworthy page turn reveals the two sharing a milkshake with giant twisty straws. Bear has many other ways of delaying the bunny’s departure until finally, the bunny loses patience: “Fine. That’s it! Just eat me already!” Flopped on a bed of greens, the bunny presents itself as a meal. But Bear has another option—perhaps they could be friends instead. The dumpy little rabbit mirrors Bear’s rotund frame; both state their arguments with deadpan precision. However, via tiny adjustments in body language, Climo masterfully includes a ton of expression behind the two protagonists’ tiny dotted eyes. Minimalist cartoon backgrounds keep the focus on the developing relationship.

Droll humor that’s sure to elicit guffaws. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-31525-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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