Younger kids are not likely to recognize many of the lesser-known types of pasta, but what a toothsome way to have fun with...

ABC PASTA

AN ENTERTAINING ALPHABET

Get your forks ready—this salute to pasta via the ABCs is truly entertaining, as the subtitle states.

Photographs of real pasta of many varieties are overlaid on loosely drawn digital drawings against white space to lend form and figure to circus performers A to Z. The cover image of a ringmaster with a rigatoni body sets up the conceit, and the fun is on. A stands for “angel hair acrobats”: four figures with angel-hair nests for faces and leotards with red, green, blue, or yellow stripes. C is for “campanelle clowns” wearing silly pasta hats. F is for “fettuccine fire-eaters,” with the pasta representing the fire. The occasional nonpasta item harmonizes nicely, as with the “herb hoops” a couple of acrobats use as props and the “plate spinners” named “Pecorino and Parmigiano.” Medina introduces other proper names too, as in “quick Quentin quadrucci” and “x-traordinary Xavier the xylophonist.” Some of the elements are quite exotic, such as the “nets” made of “nero di seppia” that catch the trapeze artists. The endpapers are small drawings of the various circus performers. Some require that readers look closely, as with the strands of “spaghetti” that act as bleachers for the “spectators.” All letters are presented clearly in both upper- and lowercase.

Younger kids are not likely to recognize many of the lesser-known types of pasta, but what a toothsome way to have fun with them. (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-101-99978-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2016

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A welcome, well-researched reflection of cultural pride in the early-reader landscape.

RAFI AND ROSI MUSIC!

From the Rafi and Rosi series

The fourth installment in Delacre’s early-reader series centers on the rich musical traditions of Puerto Rico, once again featuring sibling tree frogs Rafi and Rosi Coquí.

Readers learn along with Rafi and Rosi as they explore bomba, plena, and salsa in three chapters. A glossary at the beginning sets readers up well to understand the Spanish vocabulary, including accurate phoneticization for non-Spanish speakers. The stories focus on Rafi and Rosi’s relationship within a musical context. For example, in one chapter Rafi finds out that he attracts a larger audience playing his homemade güiro with Rosi’s help even though he initially excluded her: “Big brothers only.” Even when he makes mistakes, as the older brother, Rafi consoles Rosi when she is embarrassed or angry at him. In each instance, their shared joy for music and dance ultimately shines through any upsets—a valuable reflection of unity. Informational backmatter and author’s sources are extensive. Undoubtedly these will help teachers, librarians, and parents to develop Puerto Rican cultural programs, curriculum, or home activities to extend young readers’ learning. The inclusion of instructions to make one’s own homemade güiro is a thoughtful addition. The Spanish translation, also by Delacre and published simultaneously, will require a more advanced reader than the English one to recognize and comprehend contractions (“pa’bajo-pa-pa’rriba”) and relatively sophisticated vocabulary.

A welcome, well-researched reflection of cultural pride in the early-reader landscape. (Early reader. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-89239-429-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Children's Book Press

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Boelts’ quiet tale celebrates the perseverance of a young girl as she attempts to achieve her goals

HAPPY LIKE SOCCER

Soccer is a bittersweet mix of sorrow and joy for Sierra.

Sierra struggles with conflicting emotions about her new soccer team. Traveling out of the city, Sierra now plays on soccer fields unlike the one near the apartment where she lives with her aunt, which is exciting. However, being on this new team has some drawbacks. With most games on Saturdays—which is her aunt’s busiest day at the restaurant—Sierra is sad to be the only player without family members to cheer for her during games. Yet, with a little ingenuity, Sierra discovers a solution to her dilemma. Boelts focuses on the relationship between Sierra and her aunt, deftly portraying Sierra’s maturity and fortitude as she attempts to resolve the situation. Sierra, while dedicated to her sport, recognizes the importance and inspiring effect of her aunt’s support and encouragement. Castillo’s watercolor-and-ink illustrations of the city’s landscapes feature towering buildings in an austere setting. In contrast, drawings of Sierra’s home and her aunt’s workplace depict warm, cozy scenes. Scenes with the dark-skinned, crinkly-haired auntie and niece emphasize the close, nurturing relationship. Action-filled paintings of the soccer games capture the fast-paced excitement of the game.

Boelts’ quiet tale celebrates the perseverance of a young girl as she attempts to achieve her goals . (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-4616-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 7, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

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