An exceptional ode to the music and art of the loom.

Intelligent rhymes and handsome folk-art patterns spin a global story of weaving through the millennia.

The narrative opens as an adult in a long black dress invites a child clothed in red (both are brown-skinned and blue-haired) to listen to the loom: “Clack. Clack. / Swish— / PULL BACK. / Bobbin and heddle, / foot pedal, no slack.” (Specialized vocabulary is defined and illustrated in a glossary.) The characters’ presence throughout, along with that of a playful blue cat, adds a personal dimension. Describing the loom’s “song” (“skeins of history / unfurled across the room…”), the text is told in first person, presented in an ABCB rhyme scheme with an appropriately lilting rhythm. A limited but vibrant gouache palette of black, blue, orange/rust/brown, forest green, and white depicts weavers throughout history and cultures—we see portrayals of the craft on Chinese porcelain, Egyptian pottery, Moorish carpets, and more. Delicate spot line art contrasts with rich color on double-page spreads for a pleasing variety. Author and artist convey technical and functional information about weaving as well as the sense of community experienced by weavers and the stories and spirit incorporated into their pieces. Ending in the third person plural, Howes speaks of the beauty, purpose, and strength of the textiles and of those who create and appreciate them: “We all are tapestries… / lifelines interlacing….” (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An exceptional ode to the music and art of the loom. (author’s and illustrator’s notes, historical and cultural information on weaving) (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-4521-7806-6

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2022


A delightful story of love and hope.

Families are formed everywhere—including large metropolitan mass-transit systems!

Baby Kevin, initially known as “Danny ACE Doe,” was found in the New York City’s 14th Street subway station, which serves the A-C-E lines, by one of his future fathers, Danny. Kevin’s other father, Pete (author Mercurio), serves as the narrator, explaining how the two men came to add the newborn to their family. Readers are given an abridged version of the story from Danny and Pete’s point of view as they work to formally adopt Kevin and bring him home in time for Christmas. The story excels at highlighting the determination of loving fathers while still including realistic moments of hesitation, doubt, and fear that occur for new and soon-to-be parents. The language is mindful of its audience (for example using “piggy banks” instead of “bank accounts” to discuss finances) while never patronizing young readers. Espinosa’s posterlike artwork—which presents the cleanest New York readers are ever likely to see—extends the text and makes use of unexpected angles to heighten emotional scenes and moments of urgency. The diversity of skin tones, ages, and faces (Danny and Pete both present white, and Kevin has light brown skin) befits the Big Apple. Family snapshots and a closing author’s note emphasize that the most important thing in any family is love. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11.3-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 43% of actual size.)

A delightful story of love and hope. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-42754-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020



Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses.

An NBA star pays tribute to the influence of his grandfather.

In the same vein as his Long Shot (2009), illustrated by Frank Morrison, this latest from Paul prioritizes values and character: “My granddad Papa Chilly had dreams that came true,” he writes, “so maybe if I listen and watch him, / mine will too.” So it is that the wide-eyed Black child in the simply drawn illustrations rises early to get to the playground hoops before anyone else, watches his elder working hard and respecting others, hears him cheering along with the rest of the family from the stands during games, and recalls in a prose afterword that his grandfather wasn’t one to lecture but taught by example. Paul mentions in both the text and the backmatter that Papa Chilly was the first African American to own a service station in North Carolina (his presumed dream) but not that he was killed in a robbery, which has the effect of keeping the overall tone positive and the instructional content one-dimensional. Figures in the pictures are mostly dark-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-81003-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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