Replete with wry, comic references and infused with a sense of adventure, this is a lighthearted tale that readers will...

A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK

Being small doesn’t mean you can’t have big goals!

A pebble who feels like a boulder sets out to prove that little ones can accomplish great things in this quirky, suspenseful, pun-filled tale. Young Rocky has rock-star relatives, such as Aunt Etna and Uncle Gibraltar, and even though he’s told that he is too small, he feels inspired to “become part of one of the amazing formations on Earth!” Rocky landscapes and stony surfaces are depicted with just the right amount of detail as Rocky crosses the country and visits family members from Wyoming to Texas. He arrives in South Dakota, having lost some mass along the way, only to realize that the spectacular Mount Rushmore is in trouble—there is a crack in Lincoln’s nose and visitors are not allowed in the park until the problem is solved. Is there anything a young sedimentary rock can do? Young readers will root for this less-than-pint–sized hero while he makes the most of his own personal talents. Though they may miss some of the rock-related allusions, they will learn a bit about rock types and formations (factual information is included in the final notes).

Replete with wry, comic references and infused with a sense of adventure, this is a lighthearted tale that readers will certainly not “take for granite.” (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 20, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-17388-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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Sincere and wholehearted.

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I PROMISE

The NBA star offers a poem that encourages curiosity, integrity, compassion, courage, and self-forgiveness.

James makes his debut as a children’s author with a motivational poem touting life habits that children should strive for. In the first-person narration, he provides young readers with foundational self-esteem encouragement layered within basketball descriptions: “I promise to run full court and show up each time / to get right back up and let my magic shine.” While the verse is nothing particularly artful, it is heartfelt, and in her illustrations, Mata offers attention-grabbing illustrations of a diverse and enthusiastic group of children. Scenes vary, including classrooms hung with student artwork, an asphalt playground where kids jump double Dutch, and a gym populated with pint-sized basketball players, all clearly part of one bustling neighborhood. Her artistry brings black and brown joy to the forefront of each page. These children evince equal joy in learning and in play. One particularly touching double-page spread depicts two vignettes of a pair of black children, possibly siblings; in one, they cuddle comfortably together, and in the other, the older gives the younger a playful noogie. Adults will appreciate the closing checklist of promises, which emphasize active engagement with school. A closing note very generally introduces principles that underlie the Lebron James Family Foundation’s I Promise School (in Akron, Ohio). (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 15% of actual size.)

Sincere and wholehearted. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-297106-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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An adorable adventure in cartography.

CAMILLA, CARTOGRAPHER

An exercise of spatial thinking through a snowy forest.

Camilla the warthog collects maps. Maps of stars, New York, even the London Tube. She even owns an ancient map of her forest. Unfortunately for her, she believes all lands have been explored and there is nothing new to chart. However, with a snowy morning comes a new opportunity. When her hedgehog neighbor, Parsley, asks for her help in finding the creek, Camilla quivers with excitement when she realizes the snow-covered land “is uncharted territory.” With all landmarks covered in snow, Camilla and Parsley must use their spatial-reasoning skills and a compass to find a new way to the creek. Their trailblazing journey proves a challenge as they keep bumping into trees, rocks, and walls. But when they find the creek, Camilla will have all the information and tools ready to draw out a new map, to break out in case of another snowfall. Wood’s delightful illustrations and Dillemuth’s expertise in the matter engage readers in the woodland creatures’ adventures. In addition, Dillemuth, who holds a doctorate in geography, provides activities in the backmatter for parents and caregivers to help children develop their own spatial-reasoning skills, such as sketching and reading maps or using cardinal directions.

An adorable adventure in cartography. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4338-3033-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Magination/American Psychological Association

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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