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MAMA'S BELLY

A good book to share with children eagerly awaiting their own siblings.

A young girl eagerly awaits the arrival of her baby sister and has lots of questions for her parents.

From the physical to the existential, this girl asks them all over the course of what seems to be a single day: “When are you coming out?” “Does my sister know me already?” “Will my sister have freckles?” “Do I have to share my blanket?” “Will your lap ever come back?” “Will you have enough love for both of us?” All are answered satisfactorily, the last with a gentle, “More than all the stars in the sky.” Mama and Papa both encourage the girl to participate in getting ready for the baby and look back with her to the days when she herself was a baby. The brilliant jewel tones on mostly white backgrounds keep the focus on the family relationships and the girl’s shifting emotions. A not-always-subtle leaf motif links the illustrations, sometimes overtly inked in the backgrounds, at other times found in the pattern on a chair or Mama’s dress. Papa is a pale, bearded redhead; Mama is darker skinned with kinky black curls escaping her updo. Their daughter has pale skin, freckles, and wild brown curls. Unlike other new-baby books, the baby has not arrived by the last page, though the colophon does show a cozy family portrait of four.

A good book to share with children eagerly awaiting their own siblings. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2841-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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HOW TO CATCH A MAMASAURUS

From the How To Catch… series

A syrupy tribute to mothers that may please fans of the series.

Another creature is on the loose.

The long-running series continues its successful formula with this Hallmark card of a book, which features bright illustrations and catchy rhymes. This time, the mythical creature the racially diverse children set out to catch is an absent mom who does it all (lists of descriptors include the words banker, caregiver, nurse, doctor, driver, chef, housekeeper, teacher, entertainer, playmate, laundry service, problem solver, handywoman, cleaner, and alarm clock) but doesn’t seem to have a job outside the home and is inexplicably a dinosaur. As the children prepare gifts and a meal for her, the text becomes an ode to the skills the Mamasaurus possesses (“Day or night she’s always there. / She meets every wish and need”) and values she instills (“Sometimes life can mean hard work,” “kindness matters,” and “what counts is doing your best”). This well-intentioned selection veers into cliche generously sprinkled with saccharine but manages to redeem itself with its appreciation for mothers and all that they may do. Endpapers include a “to” and “from” page framed in a heart, as well as a page where young gift givers or recipients can draw a picture of their Mamasaurus.

A syrupy tribute to mothers that may please fans of the series. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 5, 2024

ISBN: 9781728274300

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2024

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THERE'S A ROCK CONCERT IN MY BEDROOM

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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