A gentle exploration of culture and nature.

FUEGO, FUEGITO / FIRE, LITTLE FIRE

Argueta’s playful trilingual homage to fire spans its incarnation from spark to lava flow.

Fire can come singing into its strength at the striking of two stones or from a bolt slashing through the sky. As the oldest and strongest of all “Grandfather” elements on Mother Earth, its presence is seen and felt in ritual ceremonies and in kitchen hearths. But whereas Agüita/Little Water, from Argueta’s previous elemental book Agua, Agüita / Water, Little Water (2017), declares at the end, “I am life,” Fuego/Fueguito claims to be “…the joyful energy of life.” By employing the diminutive Fueguito/Little Flame, the poet creates an affectionate tone with which fire introduces itself—thereby permitting the austere and imposing Fuego/Fire to transform into the friendly, helpful spark/chispita. In the body of the book, Argueta’s Spanish verse is printed above the English (translated by the author and Maillet) on the page, separated by Mesoamerican-inspired symbols. Communicating his and his people’s (Pipil Nahua) respect for nature, Argueta includes his Náhuat translation of his poem. Alcántara’s landscapes vary from the fury of a volcanic explosion to the stark beauty of the American Southwest. Full-page blazes of oranges, yellows, reds, and indigo underscore the simple narrative of the poem.

A gentle exploration of culture and nature. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 31, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-55885-887-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Piñata Books/Arte Público

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Though told by two outsiders to the culture, this timely and well-crafted story will educate readers on the preciousness of...

THE WATER PRINCESS

An international story tackles a serious global issue with Reynolds’ characteristic visual whimsy.

Gie Gie—aka Princess Gie Gie—lives with her parents in Burkina Faso. In her kingdom under “the African sky, so wild and so close,” she can tame wild dogs with her song and make grass sway, but despite grand attempts, she can neither bring the water closer to home nor make it clean. French words such as “maintenant!” (now!) and “maman” (mother) and local color like the karite tree and shea nuts place the story in a French-speaking African country. Every morning, Gie Gie and her mother perch rings of cloth and large clay pots on their heads and walk miles to the nearest well to fetch murky, brown water. The story is inspired by model Georgie Badiel, who founded the Georgie Badiel Foundation to make clean water accessible to West Africans. The details in Reynolds’ expressive illustrations highlight the beauty of the West African landscape and of Princess Gie Gie, with her cornrowed and beaded hair, but will also help readers understand that everyone needs clean water—from the children of Burkina Faso to the children of Flint, Michigan.

Though told by two outsiders to the culture, this timely and well-crafted story will educate readers on the preciousness of potable water. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-399-17258-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy.

ROBOBABY

Robo-parents Diode and Lugnut present daughter Cathode with a new little brother—who requires, unfortunately, some assembly.

Arriving in pieces from some mechanistic version of Ikea, little Flange turns out to be a cute but complicated tyke who immediately falls apart…and then rockets uncontrollably about the room after an overconfident uncle tinkers with his basic design. As a squad of helpline techies and bevies of neighbors bearing sludge cake and like treats roll in, the cluttered and increasingly crowded scene deteriorates into madcap chaos—until at last Cath, with help from Roomba-like robodog Sprocket, stages an intervention by whisking the hapless new arrival off to a backyard workshop for a proper assembly and software update. “You’re such a good big sister!” warbles her frazzled mom. Wiesner’s robots display his characteristic clean lines and even hues but endearingly look like vaguely anthropomorphic piles of random jet-engine parts and old vacuum cleaners loosely connected by joints of armored cable. They roll hither and thither through neatly squared-off panels and pages in infectiously comical dismay. Even the end’s domestic tranquility lasts only until Cathode spots the little box buried in the bigger one’s packing material: “TWINS!” (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 52% of actual size.)

A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-544-98731-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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