I DIG

From the I Like To Read series

A beach book for new readers.

The front-cover art shows a brown-haired boy with peachy skin and dark eyes gazing at readers while holding a shovel. He’s up to his armpits in a hole in the sand while a dog and a crab dig in the background. The back cover depicts the same boy in red-and-green swimming trunks looking at the sea beside another, bigger boy who shares his coloring but wears blue trunks. The two seem like brothers, and the older boy smiles encouragingly when the younger one says, “Look” on three successive pages as a shovel is borne into shore on the crest of a big wave. “I dig,” says the little boy on the next page, and he tunnels into the sand, finding: seashells (depicted in the art but not named in the appropriately controlled text); “a crab”; and “stars” (starfish in a watery pool that appears in the tunnel); and then “a dog,” which he follows “up” again to the beach’s sandy surface, where his brother awaits. The tunneling brings a touch of fantasy to the story, and whimsy arrives with the night’s sky and more “stars” spied by the boys—this time twinkling above. Both starry moments, as well as the energetic line that characterizes Cepeda’s technique in rendering backgrounds and figures alike, lend vitality to this simple story.

Kids will dig it. (Early reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3975-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited.

LET'S DANCE!

Dancing is one of the most universal elements of cultures the world over.

In onomatopoeic, rhyming text, Bolling encourages readers to dance in styles including folk dance, classical ballet, breakdancing, and line dancing. Read aloud, the zippy text will engage young children: “Tappity Tap / Fingers Snap,” reads the rhyme on the double-page spread for flamenco; “Jiggity-Jig / Zig-zag-zig” describes Irish step dancing. The ballet pages stereotypically include only children in dresses or tutus, but one of these dancers wears hijab. Overall, children included are racially diverse and vary in gender presentation. Diaz’s illustrations show her background in animated films; her active child dancers generally have the large-eyed sameness of cartoon characters. The endpapers, with shoes and musical instruments, could become a matching game with pages in the book. The dances depicted are described at the end, including kathak from India and kuku from Guinea, West Africa. Unfortunately, these explanations are quite rudimentary. Kathak dancers use their facial expressions extensively in addition to the “movements of their hands and their jingling feet,” as described in the book. Although today kuku is danced at all types of celebrations in several countries, it was once done after fishing, an activity acknowledged in the illustrations but not mentioned in the explanatory text.

The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited. (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63592-142-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Bittersweet—would that climate change were so easily solved.

SONG FOR THE SNOW

For the past two winters snow hasn’t come to Freya’s town. Will an old, forgotten song help to bring it back?

In language that is almost poetic, Lappano tells the story of Freya, who loved the way snow looked and felt, and how the air changed when snow was coming. It’s been two winters now since it last came, and Freya is afraid her memories of snow are fading. At the market with her father, “a soft, twinkling melody danced in Freya’s ears.” Following the sound, Freya finds a woman holding a snow-globe music box. She gifts Freya the globe and tells her it plays an old and special song. For generations, says the woman, the song was sung by the townspeople, and some believed it was “the magic of the song that called the snow home.” Back home, her mother remembers the words, but though Freya sings them over many days, the snow does not come. Eventually, she teaches the words to her friends, who take the song home, and soon “the song once again filled their homes and hearts.” And finally (and predictably), the snow comes. Eggenschwiler’s artwork matches the gentle and magical telling of the story with textural illustrations in a limited palette of soft colors. Freya, her family, and the woman present White; the townspeople are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Bittersweet—would that climate change were so easily solved. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77306-268-6

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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