SURFER CHICK

A guaranteed “Cowabunga!” (Picture book. 3-6)

A most expressive chicken makes a splash in this winning title about learning to surf.

Dempsey (Mini Racer, 2011) keeps her groovy, rhyming text tight to create a raplike beat that colorfully describes a young chick’s adventures tackling the waves. “Two birds of a feather— / a chick and her dad— / lived by the shore / in a radical pad. // A legend in surfing, / Chick’s dad ruled the Roost. / Her dream was to learn / every move he produced.” Cole chooses a vibrant palette of neon and saturated bright hues that pop against the cerulean blue water found on several spreads. Dad comes off as laid back and oh so cool but offers calm encouragement when Chick has trouble paddling. Children will feel her frustration at learning a new skill and relate to her feeling “[a]lone on the sand, / [she] simply felt chicken. / She rested on shore / till her courage could thicken.” Inspired by her dad’s “righteous” moves, she heads for the waves and “[chooses] to be brave.” The acrylic-paint–and–colored-pencil illustrations humorously capture Chick’s every emotion as she battles the water and her fears. But her perseverance pays off, and a “gnarly new legend / has been introduced. // She’s fearless and plucky. / She’s stoked and she’s quick. / She’s totally awesome— / a real Surfer Chick!”

A guaranteed “Cowabunga!” (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0188-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2012

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

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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