Sweet, inventive, and delightful.

A PATTERN FOR PEPPER

Mr. Taylor will make Pepper a very special dress for a very special occasion.

There are so many wonderful fabrics from which to choose in this old-fashioned shop. Mr. Taylor is meticulous and measures Pepper very carefully before they begin discussing choices. He shows her many fabric designs, offering tidbits of information about their origins and describing their intricacies. However, Pepper turns each one down, declaring that it is not suitable for a special occasion. Her reasons are often based on a literal interpretation of Mr. Taylor’s explanation. Tartans are used for clothing and bagpipes, but “Bagpipes are just TOO LOUD!” She rejects herringbone, houndstooth, argyle, toile, and more, before Mr. Taylor finds the perfect one. Then they sketch dress designs together and he sets to work with paper patterns, pins, and needle and thread. Her paisley dress complete, Pepper proudly wears it to celebrate Grandma’s birthday with tea and croquet in the garden. All that information about textiles could have been dry and didactic, but Kraulis keeps it lively and filled with giggle-inspiring double meanings and puns. The oil-and-graphite illustrations in varying tones of blues and browns are perfectly suited to the tale, which has an old-fashioned sensibility that will charm modern young readers. Pepper, her family, and Mr. Taylor are all white.

Sweet, inventive, and delightful. (sources) (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-10191-756-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.

WHY A DAUGHTER NEEDS A MOM

All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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Positively refreshing.

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HAIR LOVE

A black girl helps her dad learn how to give her the perfect hairstyle for a very special day.

Zuri’s voluminous head of hair “has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way.” She is pictured asleep with a large Afro framing her face. She is proud of her hair, which she sometimes wears in braids with beads like a princess and other times in pigtail puffs. But today is a special day. She knows Daddy is “worn-out” and probably needs a break, so she lets him sleep in while she looks up hairstyles on a tablet. When Daddy wakes and offers to help, he tries a series of hairstyles that just don’t work. Finally, Zuri grabs some hair supplies and shows him a tutorial. “Watching carefully… / Daddy combed, / parted, oiled, and twisted. / He nailed it!” Zuri is lovely and happy with her freshly done hairstyle, and when Mommy arrives to their “Welcome Home” sign, she loves Zuri’s look too. The digital illustrations feature details that feel just right: Zuri’s thick, textured hair, Daddy’s locs and tattoo, and dark-skinned Mom’s bright headwrap. While it’s unclear where Mommy is returning from (she is dressed casually and has a rolling black suitcase), this authentic depiction of a loving and whole black family broadens the scope of representation.

Positively refreshing. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55336-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kokila

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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