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A heartfelt, reassuring picture book that will help children develop inner resources and psychological strength.

A young girl finds courage, comfort, and peace within.

An unnamed young girl with light-brown skin, cued as Latinx, tells readers about the various people in her life and the activities she enjoys doing with them. Sometimes she spends cozy hours at home with her single mom and their dog, Rumba; goes on camping trips with other kids; and splashes around in rain puddles with her White-presenting friend, Mateo. When she needs help, there are neighbors she can count on, and if she feels sad, “a hug from Grandma makes everything better.” But sometimes, when she’s away from home or there is no one around, she has to rely on herself: “I become my own home, where I feel calm.” “I can be my own company and make my own magic,” the girl shares, and “I can love myself and become whatever I need.” Children will learn that they can give themselves a hug if no one is available to do so and create their own light, if need be. Perdomo’s simple but powerful narrative explores the balance between self-reliance and dependency and conveys the equal importance of self-care and allowing others to care for us. The colorful digital illustrations, endearingly rendered in a naïve art style, show the girl spending her alone time contentedly doing the things she loves, like dancing to samba music and putting on a magic show for her toys.

A heartfelt, reassuring picture book that will help children develop inner resources and psychological strength. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1804-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2022

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We’ll say it: a toothsome experience.

Flash those pearly whites!

Renowned poet Florian’s jaunty rhymes suggest that a hygiene ritual many children consider bothersome can be “fun! fun! fun!” Each spread features lively scenes showing kids demonstrating tooth- and mouth-cleansing techniques as well as two couplets in which the second exclamatory lines—containing a word repeated three times—rhyme with each other (“Toothpaste on the / brush! brush! brush!” “Take your time. / Don’t rush! rush! rush!”). Parents and caregivers seeking an enjoyable, stimulating way to motivate youngsters to perform this important daily task may wish to recite the rollicking verses to provide a pleasant, rhythmic, chanting “background” whenever their kids wield their toothbrushes. The colorful, energetic illustrations depict happy, wide-eyed, racially diverse small children—some with missing teeth—taking care of their oral-hygiene business with gusto. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

We’ll say it: a toothsome experience. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: July 5, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4998-1340-1

Page Count: 18

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

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If Black Lives Matter, they deserve more specificity than this.

A lushly illustrated picture book with a troubling message.

Little Lala walks with her father after his successful day of fishing. When Mama calls her home for bed, a host of “good night”s delays her: to the bird, the monkey, and even the rock. As Lala wanders through her village in the darkening twilight, readers appreciate its expansive beauty and Lala’s simple joys. Although it’s been artfully written and richly illustrated by an award-winning author of many multicultural stories, this book has problems that overshadow its beauty. “African veld” sets the story in southern Africa, but its vague locale encourages Americans to think that distinctions among African countries don’t matter. Lala wears braids or locks that stick straight up, recalling the 19th-century pickaninny, and her inconsistent skin color ranges from deep ebony like her father’s to light brown. Shadows may cause some of these differences, but if it weren’t for her identifiable hair, readers might wonder if the same child wanders from page to page. Perhaps most striking of all is Lala’s bedtime story: not an African tale but an American classic. While this might evoke nostalgia in some readers, it also suggests that southern Africa has no comparably great bedtime books for Lala, perhaps in part because American children’s literature dominates the world market.

If Black Lives Matter, they deserve more specificity than this. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-17384-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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