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IF YOU WERE A CITY

A joyful and thoughtful exploration of the world and its communities, threaded with hope for the future.

Take a tour of the cities of the world without leaving your home.

Kyo, the author’s first name, means “capital city,” and she begins and ends this story with the question: “If you were a city, / how would you be?” Each spread contains a short rhyming verse and bold illustrations of cities and diverse people as readers are taken around the world to help answer that question. Perhaps the city would be “bookish, proud, / but slightly leaning” (paired with an image of a light-skinned person standing against the Leaning Tower of Pisa) or maybe it would be “shiny, glassy, / sleek, and tall.” It could even be a new city, “a dream city,” in the imagination of architects or one that leaves “room for nest / and lair” for animals. Both words and visuals work to create positive energy, the one exception being people leaving a “broken city.” The other characters look cheerful, shown in both quiet activities like stargazing as well as “biking, / scooting, / walking,” and enjoying a nighttime wheelchair basketball game. The detailed illustrations vary—some spreads contain multiple panels with bright white borders, while others feature a single scene that bleeds to the page’s edge. The image of a brown-skinned child creating a literal safe harbor with their arms is particularly effective. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A joyful and thoughtful exploration of the world and its communities, threaded with hope for the future. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4521-5519-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: July 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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PIRATES DON'T TAKE BATHS

Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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JUST TRY IT!

From the Phil & Lil Book series

Amusing but misleading on the nutritional and behavioral fronts.

With one taste of despised mustard, a child pivots from rejecting new foods to seeking them.

Dad takes Lil to a food truck festival. Lil, who narrates the story, is nervous; this child’s list of acceptable foods is short (pizza, rice, grilled cheese, french fries, and vanilla ice cream). Dad loves varied tastes and repeatedly reminds Lil of his rule: “Just try it!” With a “YECCCH!” or an “EWWWWWW!” Lil refuses a bagel loaded with toppings, linguini with clams, Peking duck, pizza with spinach and garlic, and a pretzel covered with Lil’s most hated of foods: mustard. Frustrated, Lil accidentally knocks the pretzel onto Dad’s shirt. Lil apologizes, takes a lick of mustard…and instantly learns to appreciate every rejected offering. Lil then uses the title mantra to pressure Dad onto a nausea-inducing roller-coaster ride. Bright, cartoon-style illustrations emphasize the pair's upbeat mood. Food neophobia, or an aversion to eating anything novel, has complex psychosocial roots. But in this blithe little fable, the child’s resistance is completely overcome with a single accidental exposure, and the formerly picky eater immediately becomes a novelty seeker. The turnaround here is implausible; if this book creates any expectations of a sudden dramatic change in a child’s behavior, that would be a disservice. Both Dad and Lil are light-skinned.

Amusing but misleading on the nutritional and behavioral fronts. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781665942638

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2023

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