A slight introduction to a big topic.

ME AND MY FAMILY TREE

A reillustrated version of Sweeney’s text (first published in 1999) about a three-generation family tree.

Readers looking for a book that presents broad information about genealogy or family history will be disappointed with this title, which depicts a little girl making a family tree that includes her brother, parents, two sets of grandparents, and aunts, uncles, and cousins. It doesn’t progress further back into more distant generations and includes only living family members. In the earlier version, the protagonist appeared white, but here she seems to be biracial, with a man of color as her father and a light-skinned woman as her mother in the illustrations. The older version had a white aunt and uncle on both sides of the family each married to a person of color, with biracial children, but here the protagonist’s family is the only one that appears to be interracial. Closing text asserts that “everyone in the world has a family tree” and shows pictures of diverse families set against a map of the world, including some that could be read as families led by two moms or two dads as well as a single parent and a grandparent. This nod to diversity of family composition is welcome, but it seems like an afterthought rather than an integral part of the book, and it does not address adoption or other more-complex family constellations. Three of Sweeney’s other titles have been similarly reillustrated and slightly updated: Me and My Amazing Body (illustrated by Edward Miller); Me and My Place in Space (illustrated by Christine Gore); and Me on the Map (illustrated by Qin Leng).

A slight introduction to a big topic. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6848-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Young children will enjoy this very basic introduction to a Jewish holiday celebration.

AROUND THE PASSOVER TABLE

It’s a festive Passover Seder for two families.

“With fresh springtime flowers and once-a-year dishes, / Two candles stand straight / See our grand seder plate / At our table for this seder night.” A white father, black mother, and their two children join an all-white multigenerational family for the spring Jewish festival of Passover. The narrator, the young son of the hosting family, describes the cushions on the chairs, the wine/grape-juice glasses, the special foods, the water for washing hands and the water for dipping greens, the afikomen for hiding, and Elijah’s and Miriam’s cups for two very special guests. All this is related with the cheerful refrain: “At our table for this seder night.” Those who observe and those who are unfamiliar with the many steps of the Seder will enjoy the details tailored to a young audience—the family pets join in as the celebrants sing “Dayenu,” among other side business. Readers hoping for more background information on Elijah’s and Miriam’s cups will be disappointed, however. The digital illustrations are lively and spirited, featuring many smiling faces and kippot on the men and boys.

Young children will enjoy this very basic introduction to a Jewish holiday celebration. (author’s note, glossary) (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8075-0446-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Interesting animal facts and beautiful photographs, but despite the title, best suited to preschoolers (who will love it).

A BABY LIKE YOU

Animal babies are compared with human babies through selected facts and full-page photos.

Sibert Medalist Thimmesh (Team Moon, 2006) explores the similarities and differences in how human and animal babies do things like eat, walk, learn, and play. On each two-page spread, the narrative portion is set in large, bold type while below it in a smaller font is a specific fact relating to the featured baby. Because the narrative portions run across several page turns, the informational pieces—which serve as asides—disrupt the flow. This issue is mitigated a bit by Thimmesh’s use of the same refrain to begin each new topic: “Each new day, in different ways, a baby like you” signals readers to resume the pace. The informational asides about animals are concise and high interest, and while the human facts will be familiar to adult readers, younger readers are likely to learn something new. The photography is gorgeous, with fuzzy, adorable animal babies and diverse, equally cute human ones. Though this book is addressed to a baby, they are not the appropriate audience. This one is best read to preschoolers who can appreciate the book’s length and details. The phrase “a baby like you” may be a misfit, but the past-tense descriptions of things babies do (like learning to walk) make sense for older readers.

Interesting animal facts and beautiful photographs, but despite the title, best suited to preschoolers (who will love it). (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-55312-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet