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MERMAID LULLABY

A delightful, rainbow-colored way to spend the day.

Mermaid children explore a beautiful world, both above and below the waves.

With a beguiling flash of a tail, readers are invited on a dusky, pre-dawn ocean tour. Three young mermaids sleepily awaken: “Today is a good day…A good day for exploring the colors of this world.” And what colors! As the day begins, the trio sit on the rocks and gaze up at a glorious, blood-orange sunrise. The mermaids move through the day, encountering a different color in each scene. They glide through an orange-hued school of fish, dive through green “underwater gardens,” and leap through blue skies and waves. The three enjoy a wonder-filled day until twilight, when at last the sky and the water turn violet, completing the rainbow and reminding them that it’s “time for quiet.” The mermaids head for bed—a cozy nest of bubbles—perhaps to dream of vibrant days ahead. The rich, jewel-toned illustrations are appealing and provide a welcome opportunity for discussion about the different colors of the rainbow. Sparkling wordplay and inspired use of alliteration (“Blooming bright skies surprise our eyes,” “a swimming school of jewels down under”) make for a lovely read, perfect for a bedtime tale or a storytime read-aloud. One of the mermaids is pale-skinned and blond-haired and has a limb difference; the other two are tan-skinned.

A delightful, rainbow-colored way to spend the day. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: May 7, 2024

ISBN: 9781536204667

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2024

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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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DRAGONS LOVE TACOS

From the Dragons Love Tacos series

A wandering effort, happy but pointless.

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The perfect book for kids who love dragons and mild tacos.

Rubin’s story starts with an incantatory edge: “Hey, kid! Did you know that dragons love tacos? They love beef tacos and chicken tacos. They love really big gigantic tacos and tiny little baby tacos as well.” The playing field is set: dragons, tacos. As a pairing, they are fairly silly, and when the kicker comes in—that dragons hate spicy salsa, which ignites their inner fireworks—the silliness is sillier still. Second nature, after all, is for dragons to blow flames out their noses. So when the kid throws a taco party for the dragons, it seems a weak device that the clearly labeled “totally mild” salsa comes with spicy jalapenos in the fine print, prompting the dragons to burn down the house, resulting in a barn-raising at which more tacos are served. Harmless, but if there is a parable hidden in the dragon-taco tale, it is hidden in the unlit deep, and as a measure of lunacy, bridled or unbridled, it doesn’t make the leap into the outer reaches of imagination. Salmieri’s artwork is fitting, with a crabbed, ethereal line work reminiscent of Peter Sís, but the story does not offer it enough range.

A wandering effort, happy but pointless. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 14, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3680-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2012

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