Melmed (Moishe’s Miracle: A Hanukah Story, 2000, etc.) treats children to a traditional Thanksgiving scene while allowing them to interact in this New World counting story. The tale unfolds in rhyme as young readers count Pilgrims and Native Americans while they work together to gather nuts, pick corn, and hunt rabbits in preparation for the big feast. The fun continues as readers try to locate the wild animals lurking in every scene, including an elusive turkey that manages to avoid being caught as food for any of the 12 dinner tables. Melmed adds educational details with the mention of the Wampanoag tribe and Squanto, the sole survivor of the Patuxet tribe who came to live with the Plymouth settlers. She also alludes to the story of the Mayflower ship. Buehner’s (My Monster Mama Loves Me So, not reviewed, etc.) use of color beautifully depicts the season—quick dabs of red and orange oil paint create leaves, and long brush strokes with blended shades of blue and yellow let the ocean meet the sky. Each harvest friend has a simple smiling face, and details are reserved for scenery, such as the impressive shading used in the campfire scene that makes the light appear incredibly real. A refreshing look at an American tradition that reinforces the spirit of the holiday. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-688-14554-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2001

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A lesson in diversity and making people welcome that starts kids off on the right foot in these rough, divided times.


A little diversity goes a long way toward getting the party started in this latest farm tale from Cronin and Lewis.

While Farmer Brown is busy fixing up the farmyard, mucking out the pigpen, giving hay to the donkey, and mending fences, Little Duck is just as busy spiffing up the barn for a dance, hanging streamers and lights and balloons and cutting out hearts to make valentines for all her guests (glitter festoons the book). That evening, Little Duck and her guests are great examples of host and guests; she greets everyone individually with a valentine, and they give her food for the party. (Except the cows; they are at a fancy ball.) Music gets the dancing started, but not the mingling—at least until one last, late arrival. Will Little Fox add to the party or eat the party? Little Duck isn’t daunted. She hands her last card to Little Fox, and they cut a rug, inspiring the rest of the guests to mingle freely until the cows (literally) come home. Lewin’s characters are a delight, their facial expressions bringing life to this party. And the mice doing the hustle? They are worth the price of admission all by themselves.

A lesson in diversity and making people welcome that starts kids off on the right foot in these rough, divided times. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-4496-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

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Though it could easily feel preachy, this charmingly subversive tale instead offers a simple yet powerful story of the...

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Julián knows he’s a mermaid.

On the el with his abuela, Afro-Latinx Julián looks on, entranced, as three mermaids enter their car. Instantly enamored, Julián imagines himself a mermaid. In a sequence of wordless double-page spreads, the watercolor, gouache, and ink art—perfect for this watercentric tale—depicts adorable Julián’s progression from human to mermaid: reading his book on the el with water rushing in, then swimming in that water and freeing himself from the constraints of human clothing as his hair grows longer (never losing its texture). When Julián discovers he has a mermaid tail, his charming expressions make his surprise and delight palpable. At home, Julián tells Abuela that he, too, is a mermaid; Abuela admonishes him to “be good” while she takes a bath. A loose interpretation of being “good” could include what happens next as Julián decides to act out his “good idea”: He sheds his clothes (all except undies), ties fern fronds and flowers to his headband, puts on lipstick, and fashions gauzy, flowing curtains into a mermaid tail. When Abuela emerges with a disapproving look, readers may think Julián is in trouble—but a twist allows for a story of recognition and approval of his gender nonconformity. Refreshingly, Spanish words aren’t italicized.

Though it could easily feel preachy, this charmingly subversive tale instead offers a simple yet powerful story of the importance of being seen and affirmed. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: May 22, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9045-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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