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

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 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020



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

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 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017


A slight introduction to a big topic.

A reillustrated version of Sweeney’s text (first published in 1999) about a three-generation family tree.

Readers looking for a book that presents broad information about genealogy or family history will be disappointed with this title, which depicts a little girl making a family tree that includes her brother, parents, two sets of grandparents, and aunts, uncles, and cousins. It doesn’t progress further back into more distant generations and includes only living family members. In the earlier version, the protagonist appeared white, but here she seems to be biracial, with a man of color as her father and a light-skinned woman as her mother in the illustrations. The older version had a white aunt and uncle on both sides of the family each married to a person of color, with biracial children, but here the protagonist’s family is the only one that appears to be interracial. Closing text asserts that “everyone in the world has a family tree” and shows pictures of diverse families set against a map of the world, including some that could be read as families led by two moms or two dads as well as a single parent and a grandparent. This nod to diversity of family composition is welcome, but it seems like an afterthought rather than an integral part of the book, and it does not address adoption or other more-complex family constellations. Three of Sweeney’s other titles have been similarly reillustrated and slightly updated: Me and My Amazing Body (illustrated by Edward Miller); Me and My Place in Space (illustrated by Christine Gore); and Me on the Map (illustrated by Qin Leng).

A slight introduction to a big topic. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6848-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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