This bracing and illuminating bilingual tale deftly shows a kid’s love for a favorite truck.

MY MONSTER TRUCK GOES EVERYWHERE WITH ME

ILLUSTRATED IN AMERICAN SIGN LANGUAGE

A child spends time with a special toy in this debut picture book featuring illustrations in American Sign Language.

A blond, blue-eyed boy introduces a monster truck, spelling out the toy’s letters in ASL on the first page. “He goes EVERYWHERE with ME,” the kid announces. The boy describes the truck, adding a modifier that is also signed on each page: big, purple, fast, and loud. Readers can sign along with the child. One day, the boy gets up, eats breakfast, and heads to Grandma’s house, where more fun awaits: a monster truck rally with plenty of friends. The next day, the truck has vanished, and the boy signs his mixed emotions. Soon, Grandma arrives to return the toy, and all is well. Marcath uses simple language and repeating words, creating a narrative accessible to newly independent readers. Mehra and debut illustrator Liang’s digital cartoon images depict ASL clearly, delivering instructions and incorporating the signs into the narrative naturally and effectively. (The endmatter notes that Liang is deaf.) The kids in the cast are quite diverse in their skin tones, hair colors, and abilities. While new ASL learners may not be able to mimic the movements exactly without seeing them demonstrated, the team has provided a link to online videos that show the entire tale signed. Children who already use ASL will be thrilled to see their language skillfully represented in the story’s illustrations.

This bracing and illuminating bilingual tale deftly shows a kid’s love for a favorite truck.

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-73475-171-0

Page Count: 38

Publisher: ASL Picture Books LLC

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2021

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Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life.

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BE YOU!

An inspirational picture book offers life advice for readers who want to be themselves.

Replete with sparkling, often quirky illustrations of children living their best lives, this book is a gorgeous guidebook for those seeking encouragement while encountering life’s challenges. The children featured—a racially diverse group ranging from infants to preschoolers—cheerfully navigate the various injunctions that flow through the text: “Be curious.…Be adventurous.…Be persistent.…Be kind.” What is remarkable about the book is that even though the instructions and the brief sentences explaining them are at times vague, the illustrations expand on them in ways readers will find endearing and uplifting. Those depicting painful or challenging moments are especially effective. The “Be persistent” double-page spread shows a child in a boat on stormy seas; it’s rich with deep blues as it emphasizes the energy of wind and rain and struggle in the face of challenge. Together with the accompanying repeated phrase “Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop,” this spread arrests readers. By contrast, the “Be kind. Be understanding” spread simply presents two children’s faces, one cast in blue and the other in gold, but the empathy that Reynolds conveys is similarly captivating. While there is no plot to pull readers through the pages, the book provides rich fodder for caregivers to use as teachable moments, both informally and in classroom settings.

Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-57231-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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Serving looks and a little bit of shade with every reread.

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SHADY BABY

Inspired by the authors’ own daughter, Shady Baby brings a vivacious style and presence to every part of her day and to all the people she cares about.

“Shady might be tiny / but she’s a mighty big deal!” Her day starts by coordinating fashion, then she drops beats at the pool and plays a quick pickup game with her stuffed animals, all followed by a trip to the park. When trouble brews among other kids at the park, who argue over swings and fall short on sharing, Shady steps up. “Shady stands real tall / flashing her famous side-eye. / Then she says to [the kids] / ‘You should give kindness a try.’ ” And they do, even helping Shady in kind when someone steals her toy. It’s all in a day’s work of being fabulous, and before bed, Shady relaxes and settles in for her favorite family snuggles. Laid out in rollicking rhyme, the text sets a pace as energetic as its protagonist, keeping the pages turning and the rhythm bouncing for storytime read-alouds and independent readers alike. Toddler enthusiasm and artful side-eye come to life in Whitaker’s bright, open spreads and saturated color palette, bringing vibrancy to Shady’s many boss moves. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Serving looks and a little bit of shade with every reread. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 18, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-305403-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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