The tunnel bit is clever, but it’s not enough on its own to pull this sketchy outing from the drawer.

READ REVIEW

LITTLE SOCK

Weary of routine, a sock escapes to discover a wider (sock) world.

Little Sock lives in a drawer of identical loose socks, never has a mate even when taken out, and, according to the narrative, is improbably worn and washed every day. Venturing into a scary secret tunnel at the back of the clothes dryer, Little Sock finds himself in Sock City…which is just like a regular city except that it’s populated by socks. Readers who think “Aha! So that’s where lost socks go!” are doing better than the authors, who not only never make that claim, but are evidently so in love with their metaphor that they never trouble with constructing either a credible backstory or an actual plotline. Hardly does Little Sock arrive in Sock City than, without transition, he’s back where he started, looking forward to bringing a friend on future visits. Along with faces and pipestem limbs, the socks of Sock City all sport different colors or patterns in Park’s bright cartoon illustrations and are also varied in size and shape. Even the ones that pose in pairs are mismatched—a vision of diversity far removed from Little Sock’s monocolored community. Maybe that contrast is the intended point here? Nonetheless, next to the sock-themed exploits of Jennifer Sattler’s One Red Sock (2019) or C.K. Smouha and Eleonora Marton’s Sock Story (2019), there’s less here than meets the eye.

The tunnel bit is clever, but it’s not enough on its own to pull this sketchy outing from the drawer. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-53411-005-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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For fans of Evert and Breiehagen’s Wish Book series.

THE POLAR BEAR WISH

Anja and her dog, Birki, do their best to get to a Christmas party in a frozen Nordic landscape.

Anja wishes she had a dog sled to harness Birki to in order to get to the party. The next morning, her cousin Erik appears with his dog sled and an offer to take her there. Lost in a blizzard, they encounter talking wolves who take them to a tent where they can spend the night. A baby polar bear named Tiny appears, separated from his mother. The following day takes them all on an adventure through glaciers and fjords, past an ice castle, and finally to Tiny’s mother and to the party. This digitally produced book is illustrated with photographs that capture the Nordic setting. Unfortunately, the overall effect is weirdly flat, with elements awkwardly set together in images that lack depth. A polar bear perches awkwardly on top of oddly scaled pack ice; Anja and Erik spend a night in the ice castle in niches chiseled into the wall, but they seem oddly disconnected from it. The book has an old-fashioned, European feel; the white, blond children’s red caps and traditional clothing stand out against the dim, bluish winter light. But the wooden, overlong text does little to cultivate the magical fantasy feeling that it’s aiming for.

For fans of Evert and Breiehagen’s Wish Book series. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6566-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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This earnest Latino first-grader who overcomes obstacles and solves mysteries is a winning character

PEDRO, FIRST-GRADE HERO

From the Pedro series , Vol. 1

The creators of the Katie Woo series turn their focus to a peripheral character, first-grader Pedro—Katie’s friend and schoolmate.

Four short chapters—“Pedro Goes Buggy,” “Pedro’s Big Goal,” “Pedro’s Mystery Club,” and “Pedro For President”—highlight a Latino main character surrounded by a superbly diverse cast. At times unsure of himself, Pedro is extremely likable, for he wants to do his best and is a fair friend. He consistently comes out on top, even when his younger brother releases all the bugs he’s captured for a class assignment or when self-assured bully Roddy tries to unite opposition to Pedro’s female opponent (Katie Woo) in the race for first-grade class president. Using a third-person, past-tense narrative voice, Manushkin expands her repertoire by adding a hero comparable to EllRay Jakes. What is refreshing about the book is that for the most part, aside from Roddy’s gender-based bullying, the book overcomes boy-girl stereotypes: girls and boys play soccer, boys and girls run for president, girls and boys hunt for bugs, all setting a progressive standard for chapter books. With mixed-media illustrations featuring colorful bugs, soccer action, a mystery hunt, and a presidential campaign, Lyon’s attention to detail in color and facial expressions complements the story nicely.

This earnest Latino first-grader who overcomes obstacles and solves mysteries is a winning character . (Fiction. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5158-0112-2

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Picture Window Books

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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