Utterly charming.

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CHIRRI & CHIRRA, IN THE TALL GRASS

From the Chirri & Chirra series

Following their eponymous opening adventure (2016), unflappable Japanese twins Chirri and Chirra return for another serene, sylvan outing.

It begins when they ride their bikes into a patch of tall grass, shrinking to the size of insects as they do. When they emerge, they find themselves dwarfed by sprigs of white clover, from which a bumblebee collects honey in two large baggies. They follow it to its nest in a hillside, peeking in through a hexagonal window to a charming kitchen in which the bee and her companion make honey sponge cake that they share with the girls. They then follow a flower chafer to its house, where the beetle gives them “freshly squeezed mixed-leaf juice with yumberry fruit and raspberry pulp.” Off they go again, bells ringing “dring-dring,” after a friendly lizard, who invites them in to make candy. The idyll, depicted in soft, smudgy colors that have the look of lithographs, plays out in cozy, single-page illustrations in a slightly smaller-than-typical trim. There is no sense of danger or even discontent, just a warm, green world that opens itself up to the twins—and when they re-emerge by their house in the firefly-lit twilight to find their candy suddenly gone, there are no tears. Whether readers decide it’s all imaginary or not is irrelevant; they will love every moment, regardless.

Utterly charming. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 13, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-59270-225-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: May 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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Cool and stylish.

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ADA TWIST, SCIENTIST

Her intellectual curiosity is surpassed only by her passion for science. But what to do about her messy experiments?

Ada is speechless until she turns 3. But once she learns how to break out of her crib, there’s no stopping the kinky-haired, brown-skinned girl. “She tore through the house on a fact-finding spree.” When she does start speaking, her favorite words are “why,” “how,” and “when.” Her parents, a fashion-forward black couple who sport a variety of trendy outfits, are dumbfounded, and her older brother can only point at her in astonishment. She amazes her friends with her experiments. Ada examines all the clocks in the house, studies the solar system, and analyzes all the smells she encounters. Fortunately, her parents stop her from putting the cat in the dryer, sending her instead to the Thinking Chair. But while there, she covers the wall with formulae. What can her parents do? Instead of punishing her passion, they decide to try to understand it. “It’s all in the heart of a young scientist.” Though her plot is negligible—Ada’s parents arguably change more than she does—Beaty delightfully advocates for girls in science in her now-trademark crisply rhyming text. Roberts’ illustrations, in watercolor, pen, and ink, manage to be both smart and silly; the page compositions artfully evoke the tumult of Ada’s curiosity, filling white backgrounds with questions and clutter.

Cool and stylish. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2137-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the...

ROSIE REVERE, ENGINEER

Rhymed couplets convey the story of a girl who likes to build things but is shy about it. Neither the poetry nor Rosie’s projects always work well.

Rosie picks up trash and oddments where she finds them, stashing them in her attic room to work on at night. Once, she made a hat for her favorite zookeeper uncle to keep pythons away, and he laughed so hard that she never made anything publicly again. But when her great-great-aunt Rose comes to visit and reminds Rosie of her own past building airplanes, she expresses her regret that she still has not had the chance to fly. Great-great-aunt Rose is visibly modeled on Rosie the Riveter, the iconic, red-bandanna–wearing poster woman from World War II. Rosie decides to build a flying machine and does so (it’s a heli-o-cheese-copter), but it fails. She’s just about to swear off making stuff forever when Aunt Rose congratulates her on her failure; now she can go on to try again. Rosie wears her hair swooped over one eye (just like great-great-aunt Rose), and other figures have exaggerated hairdos, tiny feet and elongated or greatly rounded bodies. The detritus of Rosie’s collections is fascinating, from broken dolls and stuffed animals to nails, tools, pencils, old lamps and possibly an erector set. And cheddar-cheese spray.

Earnest and silly by turns, it doesn’t quite capture the attention or the imagination, although surely its heart is in the right place. (historical note) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0845-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2013

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