A fun and funny read-aloud for parents and kids alike.

MOM'S NOT WIPIN' YOUR BUM

Hawthorne’s picture book addresses a very specific phase of the potty-training process.

It’s a stage almost every kid (and parent) goes through: “Your diapers are done, and clean fannies are fun! / BUT... / Mom’s not wipin’ your bum.” The story, told in rhyming couplets, is framed as a mom addressing an unnamed child. (The child and mother have light-brown skin tones; a group of other diverse moms is also shown.) She congratulates the youngster on entering a new era and leaving diapers behind, but she’s exasperated with the kid’s underwear-destroying ways. After much encouragement to take charge of the process, the child expertly wipes, flushes, and washes their hands, and finally, mom and child collapse into a nap. The book uniquely approaches a particular phase of child development that’s not usually covered in kids’ books. For adults going through it, the book is not only helpful, but also genuinely funny. Mahardhika’s illustrations have a dynamic graphic style that feels fresh; an image of a woman holding a “WIPE YO’ SELF!” placard will truly speak to some parents. The titular phrase punctuates the end of each section of verse, and it’s brilliantly showcased on its own page. One can almost hear youngsters energetically reading it aloud at each turn of the page.

A fun and funny read-aloud for parents and kids alike.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2022

ISBN: 979-8-98526-680-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Three Plus One Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2022

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Excellent for enriching vocabulary, developing creative thinking, and enhancing a love of nature.

WONDER WALKERS

Ever wonder what kids wonder about?

Two kids, likely siblings, take a “wonder walk” outside. They greet nature with awe and ask themselves (and, not so incidentally, readers) questions articulated in language that is spare and economic yet profound and beautifully poetic. Only wonderstruck children, confronting nature’s gorgeous mysteries, could express themselves so intimately, creatively, and originally. Youngsters reading/hearing this book on laps or in groups, and grown-ups, too, will be charmed, enlightened, and moved by these breathless queries. Ponder: “Is the sun the world’s light bulb?” “Are trees the sky’s legs?” “Is dirt the world’s skin?” “Is the wind the world breathing?” Occasionally, the walkers summarize their thoughts with a solemn exchange: “ ‘I wonder.’ / ‘Me too.’ ” At last, the exploratory journey culminates with nighttime, which evokes a lovely question of its own. The simple text is composed mostly of the duo’s questions; spreads feature one or two queries apiece. Each should be carefully read aloud to allow for serious listener consideration and response. At the book’s conclusion, children may want space to discuss, dictate, write, and/or illustrate their own questions/ideas about nature. Luminous ink-and-collage illustrations are lush and vivid, perfectly suiting the text. The pair are kids of color, one with long, straight, black hair and the other with brown curls. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 37.4% of actual size.)

Excellent for enriching vocabulary, developing creative thinking, and enhancing a love of nature. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 30, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-10964-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

CARPENTER'S HELPER

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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