While the photos and text don’t always mesh, still this is a refreshingly real-life view of fatherhood.

READ REVIEW

DADS

Following Their Great Gift (2016), Coy and Huie team up again, exploring fatherhood through the lens of a camera and the roles that fathers play in their families.

In the backmatter notes, Huie explains that he “combed through my archives” for the photos for this book, and that may be why they don’t always complement the text and why they may seem woefully out of step for our times. For instance, “Dads help” shows a black man tenderly cradling a baby; is he "helping" by caring for his own child? “They teach” is a strong page: Dads provide instruction in riding a bike, tying a tie, and adjusting Buddhist robes. Others photos may leave readers wondering: “They get frustrated” simply shows an Asian man sitting at a table, his forehead creased but no other indication of his feelings or what might have prompted them. “They remember” includes a photo of a man of color standing over small children sitting on a curb. Two are crying. It’s won’t be clear to young readers what he may be remembering. While Huie is to be commended for showing such a great range of diversity, both socio-economic and racial, in the dads and family groups pictured in his black-and-white and color photos, his work suffers for having been posed: Too many photos feel forced, with one or more of the subjects looking directly at the camera.

While the photos and text don’t always mesh, still this is a refreshingly real-life view of fatherhood. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-7839-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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A $16.99 Mother’s Day card for cat lovers.

MOMMIES ARE AMAZING

The team of Costain and Lovšin (Daddies are Awesome, 2016) gives moms their due.

Rhyming verses tell of all the ways moms are amazing: “Mommies are magic. / They kiss away troubles… // …find gold in the sunlight / and rainbows in bubbles.” Moms are joyful—the best playmates. They are also fearless and will protect and soothe if you are scared. Clever moms know just what to do when you’re sad, sporty moms run and leap and climb, while tender moms cuddle. “My mommy’s so special. / I tell her each day… // … just how much I love her / in every way!” Whereas dads were illustrated with playful pups and grown-up dogs in the previous book, moms are shown as cats with their kittens in myriad colors, sizes, and breeds. Lovšin’s cats look as though they are smiling at each other in their fun, though several spreads are distractingly cut in half by the gutter. However delightful the presentation—the verse rolls fairly smoothly, and the cats are pretty cute—the overall effect is akin to a cream puff’s: very sweet and insubstantial.

A $16.99 Mother’s Day card for cat lovers. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62779-651-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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Creative, comedic, and carrot-loads of fun.

A IS FOR ANOTHER RABBIT

An obsessed narrator creates an alphabet book overrun with rabbits, much to the chagrin of an owl who wants to create a “proper, respectable” alphabet book.

The picture book begins, “A is for A rabbit,” an illustration of a large brown rabbit taking up most of the recto. The owl protagonist—presumably the co-creator of the book—points out that “rabbit” begins with “R.” “Yes, but “a rabbit” starts with A,” says the narrator, before moving on to “B is for bunny,” which, as the owl points out, is just another name for rabbit. Despite the owl’s mounting frustration, the narrator genially narrates several rabbits into existence on almost every single page, rendered with such variety that readers will find their proliferation endlessly amusing. The letter D, for instance, introduces readers to “delightful, dynamic, daredevil RABBITS!” (a herd of biker rabbits), and although the narrator says “E is for Elephant” (which momentarily satisfies the owl), the image depicts several rabbits poorly disguised as an elephant. Much to the owl’s chagrin and, ultimately, exhaustion, the narrator grows more and more creative in their presentation of their favorite animal as the picture book proceeds down a rabbit hole of…well, rabbits! Batsel’s debut picture book for readers already familiar with the English alphabet is funny and highly entertaining. The whimsical narrative and the colorful images make this an excellent elementary-age read-aloud.

Creative, comedic, and carrot-loads of fun. (Picture book. 4-8)/p>)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-2950-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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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

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