Though open adoptions have become more common, they are still not the majority; this is more a single family’s adoption...

WONDERFUL YOU

AN ADOPTION STORY

A birth mother searches for the right parents for her unborn child in this story narrated by the adoptive mother.

“She looked north. She looked south. She traveled the world, / asking, ‘Who’ll be the parents of this beautiful girl? / I will sail by the moon and the stars till I find / a home for my girl that is loving and kind, / with a soft, cushioned bed and a teddy named Boo. // Nothing less than the best for Wonderful You.’ ” In a house by the sea, a loving couple awaits, but the birth mother must make sure they are just right. (The artwork here is slightly disturbing: the adoptive mother stretches out her arms toward the birth mother, who is riding on a crescent moon and hugging her pregnant belly; her expression looks shocked, almost as if her babe is being taken away.) After entrusting the baby to the adoptive parents, the birth mother rides a bird back home, and the tale turns to the new family and all that the future holds. The verses border on saccharine, and the rhyme scheme governs both word choice and syntax, making the text a challenge to read aloud. The artwork matches the flights of fancy with watercolor swirls and blotches, but the faces (all pale-skinned) are off-putting, not sweet or loving.

Though open adoptions have become more common, they are still not the majority; this is more a single family’s adoption story than one that speaks to all adopted children. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: April 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-553-51001-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it.

THE OLD BOAT

A multigenerational tale of a boat’s life with a Black family, written by two brothers who loved similar boats.

In the opening spread, a smiling, brown-skinned adult dangles a line from the back of a green-and-white boat while a boy peers eagerly over the side at the sea life. The text never describes years passing, but each page turn reveals the boy’s aging, more urban development on the shore, increasing water pollution, marine-life changes (sea jellies abound on one page), and shifting water levels. Eventually, the boy, now a teenager, steers the boat, and as an adult, he fishes alone but must go farther and farther out to sea to make his catch. One day, the man loses his way, capsizes in a storm, and washes up on a small bay island, with the overturned, sunken boat just offshore. Now a “new sailor” cleans up the land and water with others’ help. The physical similarities between the shipwrecked sailor and the “new sailor” suggest that this is not a new person but one whose near-death experience has led to an epiphany that changes his relationship to water. As the decaying boat becomes a new marine habitat, the sailor teaches the next generation (a child with hair in two Afro puffs) to fish. Focusing primarily on the sea, the book’s earth-toned illustrations, created with hundreds of stamps, carry the compelling plot.

A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-324-00517-9

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Norton Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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Nice enough, but its twinkle is on the faint side.

TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE KID

A boy gets an unusual payoff after wishing on a star.

Sitting outside one night, Clyde notices a lone star in the sky. He recites the “Star light, star bright” incantation and makes a wish. Disappointed when it doesn’t come true, he returns home. But later, while he’s asleep, the star he’d wished on sneaks into his bedroom and makes a wish on him! Startled awake, Clyde wonders how to grant Star’s wish. He shares some ideas (and actual objects) with her: a game of checkers, tent camping, tossing a Frisbee, and walkie-talkies. Star likes them, but they’re not her wishes; Clyde confides there’s no one to enjoy them with—and wonders if perhaps Star had wished for a friend. No one will be surprised at what Clyde next confesses to Star. The pair winds up playing together and becoming besties. This is a sweet but thin and predictable story about making friends. Still, readers will appreciate meeting feisty, celestial Star. The author reaches for humor using colloquialisms (“freaked out”), and kids will like the comfortable familiarity that develops between the cheery protagonists. The colored-pencil illustrations are rendered in a limited palette of mostly dark blues and purples, appropriate to the nighttime setting. Star is a luminous, pale yellow with a white topknot and has a star-dappled aura around her. Purple-pj’d Clyde wears bunny slippers and presents White. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough, but its twinkle is on the faint side. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-399-17132-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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