Joyous multigenerational fun.

BISA'S CARNAVAL

A young girl and her great-grandmother share their love for a special annual holiday.

It’s Carnaval time in Brazil, and Clara can’t wait to celebrate it with her family and especially with her bisa (great-grandmother). In the lead-up to the festivities Clara and Bisa spend time together going through Bisa’s memories of previous years and lovingly choosing the colorful fabrics Bisa will use to create beautiful fantasias—costumes—for Clara, her cousins, and her sisters. Bisa herself doesn’t attend Carnaval this year due to her age, and as Clara loses herself to the sounds and scents around her, she realizes there is something she can do to make it all even better. The Brazilian duo of author Pastro and illustrator Coroa bring to life the street Carnaval of Olinda, a city in the northeast of Brazil, with a story that celebrates one of the country’s most important and beloved holidays with humor, truth, and heart. The picture book showcases Carnaval as a heartwarming multigenerational celebration and is peppered with easy-to-contextualize Portuguese words (a glossary is provided at the end). The illustrations are suitably celebratory, with bright colors and detailed and festive backgrounds as well as a plethora of characters who represent the diversity of the Brazilian people. Clara and her family have light-brown skin.

Joyous multigenerational fun. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-61762-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: today

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Only for dedicated fans of the series.

HOW TO CATCH A MONSTER

From the How To Catch… series

When a kid gets the part of the ninja master in the school play, it finally seems to be the right time to tackle the closet monster.

“I spot my monster right away. / He’s practicing his ROAR. / He almost scares me half to death, / but I won’t be scared anymore!” The monster is a large, fluffy poison-green beast with blue hands and feet and face and a fluffy blue-and-green–striped tail. The kid employs a “bag of tricks” to try to catch the monster: in it are a giant wind-up shark, two cans of silly string, and an elaborate cage-and-robot trap. This last works, but with an unexpected result: the monster looks sad. Turns out he was only scaring the boy to wake him up so they could be friends. The monster greets the boy in the usual monster way: he “rips a massive FART!!” that smells like strawberries and lime, and then they go to the monster’s house to meet his parents and play. The final two spreads show the duo getting ready for bed, which is a rather anticlimactic end to what has otherwise been a rambunctious tale. Elkerton’s bright illustrations have a TV-cartoon aesthetic, and his playful beast is never scary. The narrator is depicted with black eyes and hair and pale skin. Wallace’s limping verses are uninspired at best, and the scansion and meter are frequently off.

Only for dedicated fans of the series. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4926-4894-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Comfy and cozy, with nary a meanie in sight.

GRANDUDE'S GREEN SUBMARINE

Following Hey, Grandude (2019), more jolly fun as the title character squires his four young “Chillers” aboard a green sub (where does Sir Paul get his ideas?) to catch up with his partner in adventure: Nandude!

Casting about for something to do on a sweltering day, the multiracial quartet eagerly follows their grizzled White gramps down to an underground chamber where a viridian vessel awaits to take them soaring through the sky to a distant land. There, Grandude’s old friend Ravi plays a tune of Nandude’s that accompanies them after they leave him. It leads them under the sea to an octopus’s garden and a briefly scary tangle with the ink-spraying giant. The monster’s set to dancing, though, as Nandude floats up in her own accordion-shaped ship to carry everyone home for tea, biscuits, and bed in a swirl of notes. Aside maybe from the odd spray of shiny stars here and there, Durst steers clear of sight gags and direct visual references to the film or music in her cheery cartoon scenes. Both she and the text do kit Ravi out, appropriately, with a sitar, but there’s no 1960s-style psychedelia to be seen. Nostalgic adults may be disappointed to see that even the submarine bears no resemblance to the iconic vessel of the film but instead just looks like a plush, smiling toy whale, eyes and all. Children, of course, won’t care. That this book does not try to trade (heavily) on its antecedents makes it a refreshing change from so many other celebrity titles. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Comfy and cozy, with nary a meanie in sight. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-37243-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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