This book overflows with affection—and you can never have too much of that.

DON'T SAY A WORD, MAMÁ / NO DIGAS NADA, MAMÁ

Mamá has always been proud of her loving daughters, even when they’ve grown.

Rosa, her husband and their three children live “in a little house just down the street from her mother.” Sister Blanca lives alone “in a little house just up the street from her mother.” One year, each sister plants a garden, growing tomatoes, corn and “good hot chiles.” Each woman gives their mother some and tells her that she is going to give her sister half her yield—but: “Don’t say a word, Mamá!” In the night, each unknowingly passes the other with a basketful and leaves it in her sister’s empty kitchen. In the morning, each is astonished at the enormous pile of tomatoes and gives still more to her mother, who accepts them with a shrug: “you can never have too many tomatoes.” This is repeated with the luxuriant crop of corn, but Mamá at last spills the beans—or rather the peppers—as she can’t manage a similar surplus of chiles. Storyteller Hayes uses repetition, parallel structure and short sentences masterfully, unspooling a sweet family tale that never turns saccharine. His own Spanish translation appears alongside the English text. Andrade Valencia contributes highly saturated paintings that combine a folk aesthetic with magical realism, playfully depicting anthropomorphized vegetables marrying and having babies as the sisters marvel at the bounty.

This book overflows with affection—and you can never have too much of that. (Bilingual picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-935955-29-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it.

THE OLD BOAT

A multigenerational tale of a boat’s life with a Black family, written by two brothers who loved similar boats.

In the opening spread, a smiling, brown-skinned adult dangles a line from the back of a green-and-white boat while a boy peers eagerly over the side at the sea life. The text never describes years passing, but each page turn reveals the boy’s aging, more urban development on the shore, increasing water pollution, marine-life changes (sea jellies abound on one page), and shifting water levels. Eventually, the boy, now a teenager, steers the boat, and as an adult, he fishes alone but must go farther and farther out to sea to make his catch. One day, the man loses his way, capsizes in a storm, and washes up on a small bay island, with the overturned, sunken boat just offshore. Now a “new sailor” cleans up the land and water with others’ help. The physical similarities between the shipwrecked sailor and the “new sailor” suggest that this is not a new person but one whose near-death experience has led to an epiphany that changes his relationship to water. As the decaying boat becomes a new marine habitat, the sailor teaches the next generation (a child with hair in two Afro puffs) to fish. Focusing primarily on the sea, the book’s earth-toned illustrations, created with hundreds of stamps, carry the compelling plot.

A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-324-00517-9

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Norton Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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