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

THERE'S A BEACH IN MY BEDROOM

An upbeat tale with a much-needed message: Imagination and positivity can save the day.

In this picture book from pop star Kevin Jonas and his wife, TV personality Danielle Jonas, a rainy day forces a child to find an alternate way to enjoy the beach.

Family beach day is one of Bella’s favorite things. She loves splashing in the waves, jumping from rock to rock, and building sand castles. Today, however, the weather isn’t cooperating, but Bella isn’t upset. “It will just have to stop raining. That’s all.” Disappointment sets in when her family tells her that beach day is off. Teary Bella rejects suggested indoor pastimes like board games, musical jam sessions, or reading stories together, and she retreats to her room. Dejected, Bella consoles herself with her stuffed bunny, Mr. Bonkers, until her parents and sister, Emma, knock on her door with a surprise: “BEDROOM BEACH DAY!” With just a few household items—a big lamp for the sun, a fan for the ocean breeze, a blue blanket for water, and pillows for rocks—and a large dose of imagination, Bella’s bedroom is transformed. A flexible attitude from all helps Bella—and readers—realize that things may not always go as planned…but sometimes they can be even better than we expected. Whimsical, cartoonish drawings and a dialogue-driven narrative turn a setback into an uplifting family experience. Bella and her family are light-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An upbeat tale with a much-needed message: Imagination and positivity can save the day. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: July 11, 2023

ISBN: 9780593352106

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2023

GOLDIE'S GUIDE TO GRANDCHILDING

Intended as an amusing parody, this groans with outdated irrelevance and immaturity.

While spending the day with Grandpa, young Goldie offers tips on the care and keeping of grandparents.

Though “loyal and loving,” Goldie’s grandfather proves to be quite a character. At Grandparents Day at school, his loud greeting and incessant flatulence are embarrassing, but Goldie is confident that he—and all grandparents—can be handled with the “right care and treatment.” The young narrator notes that playtime should involve the imagination rather than technology—“and NO video games. It’s just too much for them.” Goldie observes that grandparents “live on a diet of all the things your parents tell them are bad for them” but finds that Grandpa’s favorite fast-food restaurant does make for a great meal out. The narrator advises that it’s important for grandparents to get plenty of exercise; Grandpa’s favorite moves include “the Bump, the Hustle, and the Funky Chicken.” The first-person instruction and the artwork—drawn in a childlike scrawl—portray this grandfather in a funny, though unflattering, stereotypical light as he pulls quarters from Goldie’s ears, burps on command, and invites Goldie to pull his finger. Goldie’s grandfather seems out of touch with today’s more tech-savvy and health-oriented older people who are eager to participate with their grandchildren in contemporary activities. Though some grandparent readers may chuckle, kids may wonder how this mirrors their own relationships. Goldie and Grandpa are light-skinned; Goldie’s classmates are diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Intended as an amusing parody, this groans with outdated irrelevance and immaturity. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-24932-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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