Smart girls, friendship, and fun: a winning combination.

CECE LOVES SCIENCE AND ADVENTURE

From the Cece Loves Science series

Cece uses her science skills at camp with her friends.

Cece is excited for her Adventure Girls camping trip, where, with her mother as group leader, she’ll be able to explore science in nature with her friends Daisy and Caroline. As a scout and as a scientist, she uses checklists to pack and be prepared. At camp, the girls work together to set up their tent; a series of illustrations shows how. When they go on a hike, Cece takes pictures of landmarks to track their route. When the sky grows dark, Cece uses her knowledge of types of clouds and the timing between thunder and lightning to figure out how far away the storm is. When her mom’s GPS stops working, Cece recommends using her pictures to make a map back to the campsite. With some clever improvisation, they make a shelter to stay dry and then find their way back to camp. For their problem-solving and science, the girls earn more than just the camping badge. (One wonders how prepared the leader was, but no matter; Cece to the rescue!) The bright, animation-style illustrations depict fluffy-haired Cece and her straight-haired mother; Daisy sports braids and a darker skin tone, and Caroline appears Asian. (Cece’s white dad, introduced in Cece Loves Science, 2018, stays at home in this outing.) Cece’s checklists and notes are interspersed throughout, Magic Schoolbus–style, and an endnote defines science terms.

Smart girls, friendship, and fun: a winning combination. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: June 4, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-249962-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Review Posted Online: March 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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A rallying cry for anyone looking for a strong example of perseverance.

MAYA AND THE BEAST

Brazilian surfer Gabeira offers a fictionalized version of her childhood with this story of an adventurous young girl who overcomes sexism and self-doubt to become a great athlete.

The inhabitants of the fishing village of Nazaré, Portugal, are in awe of a massive wave known as the Beast. A young villager named Maya has asthma and brings medicine with her wherever she goes; though shy, Maya finds fulfillment when moving her body during dancing, gymnastics, and swimming. Having grown up hearing about the Beast, she goes to see it for herself and is in awe of the massive wave, though she also notices boys surfing on it. Maya decides to try surfing, which her father encourages. The boys at the beach tell her surfing is no sport for girls, and she nearly believes them until a voice in a seashell tells her not to give up. Both text and illustrations offer a stirring account of Maya’s journey to surfing mastery. The Beast begins as a spectacle from afar, filling the page with its sheer scope. Maya is often framed within or beneath its crest, including a wonderful scene of her would-be hecklers watching dumbfounded as she joyously surfs ahead of them. Maya and her family are brown-skinned; for the most part, other residents of Nazaré range in skin color from tan to brown. In an author’s note, Gabeira describes growing up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and, in 2007, setting a Guinness record for the largest wave ever surfed at Praia de Norte in Nazaré. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A rallying cry for anyone looking for a strong example of perseverance. (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4197-6000-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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Deliberately inspirational and tinged with nostalgia, this will please fans but may strike others as overly idealistic.

STICKS AND STONES

Veteran picture-book creator Polacco tells another story from her childhood that celebrates the importance of staying true to one’s own interests and values.

After years of spending summers with her father and grandmother, narrator Trisha is excited to be spending the school year in Michigan with them. Unexpectedly abandoned by her summertime friends, Trisha quickly connects with fellow outsiders Thom and Ravanne, who may be familiar to readers from Polacco’s The Junkyard Wonders (2010). Throughout the school year, the three enjoy activities together and do their best to avoid school bully Billy. While a physical confrontation between Thom (aka “Sissy Boy”) and Billy does come, so does an opportunity for Thom to defy convention and share his talent with the community. Loosely sketched watercolor illustrations place the story in the middle of the last century, with somewhat old-fashioned clothing and an apparently all-White community. Trisha and her classmates appear to be what today would be called middle schoolers; a reference to something Trisha and her mom did when she was “only eight” suggests that several years have passed since that time. As usual, the lengthy first-person narrative is cozily conversational but includes some challenging vocabulary (textiles, lackeys, foretold). The author’s note provides a brief update about her friends’ careers and encourages readers to embrace their own differences. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Deliberately inspirational and tinged with nostalgia, this will please fans but may strike others as overly idealistic. (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2622-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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