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WITH MY DADDY

A BOOK OF LOVE AND FAMILY

Familiar emotions writ large.

A young girl explores how she feels when she is with her father.

Roussey’s illustrations stand out, the ink-drawn girl tiny next to her father’s gigantic hands, emphasizing just how outsized his influence on her and her emotions is. When she gives her dad a hug, she feels “like / a little bird in a warm, comfy nest. / When I am with my dad, I feel safe.” The picture may be difficult for literal thinkers to puzzle out: The girl rests in a house-shaped space superimposed on a tree that resembles a green lollipop. Her dad’s giant left hand waters the tree; his right lays a blanket on the girl. Dad also makes her feel “brave,” “daring,” “confident” in her abilities (she rides a two-wheeler across the back of his hand), “adventurous” (at the pool), “playful,” “calm,” “excited,” “angry,” and “peaceful and happy again.” But “No matter what I am feeling / …. / I love my dad, / and my dad loves me.” Dad’s extremities are the only parts of him visible, and both he and his daughter are paper-white, she with bobbed dark hair tied with a red bow. As with other titles in the Growing Hearts series, this one has thick board pages, but oddly, unlike the others, this one lacks the die cuts and flaps that make thick pages a necessity.

Familiar emotions writ large. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2822-8

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Abrams Appleseed

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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THERE'S A ROCK CONCERT IN MY BEDROOM

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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HOW TO CATCH A MAMASAURUS

From the How To Catch… series

A syrupy tribute to mothers that may please fans of the series.

Another creature is on the loose.

The long-running series continues its successful formula with this Hallmark card of a book, which features bright illustrations and catchy rhymes. This time, the mythical creature the racially diverse children set out to catch is an absent mom who does it all (lists of descriptors include the words banker, caregiver, nurse, doctor, driver, chef, housekeeper, teacher, entertainer, playmate, laundry service, problem solver, handywoman, cleaner, and alarm clock) but doesn’t seem to have a job outside the home and is inexplicably a dinosaur. As the children prepare gifts and a meal for her, the text becomes an ode to the skills the Mamasaurus possesses (“Day or night she’s always there. / She meets every wish and need”) and values she instills (“Sometimes life can mean hard work,” “kindness matters,” and “what counts is doing your best”). This well-intentioned selection veers into cliche generously sprinkled with saccharine but manages to redeem itself with its appreciation for mothers and all that they may do. Endpapers include a “to” and “from” page framed in a heart, as well as a page where young gift givers or recipients can draw a picture of their Mamasaurus.

A syrupy tribute to mothers that may please fans of the series. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 5, 2024

ISBN: 9781728274300

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2024

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