A real charmer; kids will eagerly anticipate reading more about these two.


From the Maddie and Mabel series , Vol. 1

This sister act is hard to beat.

Big sister Maddie and little sister Mabel star in this delightful, cozy, five-chapter early-reader series opener. The siblings enjoy a loving, trusting, and—mostly—cooperative bond. Though adults aren’t depicted here, in “The Rabbit,” readers learn that Maddie’s parents asked her an “important question” before Mabel’s birth: Would she rather a baby sister or a pet rabbit? Kids, especially those in tight sibling partnerships themselves, will understand completely when Maddie confesses she chose the rabbit but is happy she got Mabel instead—and giggle when Mabel demonstrates rabbity attributes. In “The Fight,” Mabel feels frustrated that Maddie always takes the lead on their activities, but the sibs can’t remain foes for long as they run the gamut of emotions and display mutual concern, humility, and forgiveness; a gracious apology is extended, too. Siblings of all stripes will feel reassured and affirmed by this devoted duo’s unbreakable kinship. Especially noteworthy about this quiet, endearing offering is how much its economic prose and dialogue reveal about the girls’ relationship and distinct personalities. Delicate line drawings lend a gentle atmosphere and perfectly suit the proceedings. Maddie, who has long, straight, blond hair, and Mabel, who has short, wavy, brown hair, present White and are very expressive.

A real charmer; kids will eagerly anticipate reading more about these two. (critical-thinking, writing, and drawing activities) (Early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 22, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-63894-002-9

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Kind World Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2022

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.


Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day.


Spending a day with Gong Gong doesn’t sound like very much fun to May.

Gong Gong doesn’t speak English, and May doesn’t know Chinese. How can they have a good day together? As they stroll through an urban Chinatown, May’s perpetually sanguine maternal grandfather chats with friends and visits shops. At each stop, Cantonese words fly back and forth, many clearly pointed at May, who understands none of it. It’s equally exasperating trying to communicate with Gong Gong in English, and by the time they join a card game in the park with Gong Gong’s friends, May is tired, hungry, and frustrated. But although it seems like Gong Gong hasn’t been attentive so far, when May’s day finally comes to a head, it is clear that he has. First-person text gives glimpses into May’s lively thoughts as they evolve through the day, and Gong Gong’s unchangingly jolly face reflects what could be mistaken for blithe obliviousness but is actually his way of showing love through sharing the people and places of his life. Through adorable illustrations that exude humor and warmth, this portrait of intergenerational affection is also a tribute to life in Chinatown neighborhoods: Street vendors, a busker playing a Chinese violin, a dim sum restaurant, and more all combine to add a distinctive texture. 

A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77321-429-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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