A buoyant, accessible, if simplified tribute to Mayan weaving.

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RAINBOW WEAVER / TEJEDORA DEL ARCORIS

A resourceful Maya girl crafts rainbow-colored fabric out of recycled plastic bags in this modest tale of ingenuity.

Ixchel longs to weave beautifully colored fabric just like her mother’s. Alas, Mama tells her that she’s too young to partake in this long-standing Maya tradition. Besides, there isn’t any extra thread for her. The fabric, Mama says, “will help pay for your school and books” if it sells well. Wanting to help pay for these things too, Ixchel gathers some materials to weave her own fabric. Tall blades of grass don’t work—the cloth comes out too small and too scratchy—and using wool results in fabric that’s too dull and too dirty. Undeterred, she gets the idea to use the brightly colored plastic bags that litter her village’s fields. The text is presented in both English and a faithful Spanish translation. Inspired by an organization of weavers in Guatemala, Marshall presents here an uncomplicated story meant to stir and inspire. Chavarri’s digital artwork furthers the inspirational intent: colorful and clean, with ample space for wide-eyed facial expressions on Ixchel and other characters, the pictures provide a clear sense for each story moment. Naturally, Ixchel gets her happy ending, and her village does too. The author's note, however, raises some questions about Maya socio-economic realities that situate this story in a more complicated light.

A buoyant, accessible, if simplified tribute to Mayan weaving. (glossary, author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-89239-374-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Children's Book Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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Sincere and wholehearted.

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I PROMISE

The NBA star offers a poem that encourages curiosity, integrity, compassion, courage, and self-forgiveness.

James makes his debut as a children’s author with a motivational poem touting life habits that children should strive for. In the first-person narration, he provides young readers with foundational self-esteem encouragement layered within basketball descriptions: “I promise to run full court and show up each time / to get right back up and let my magic shine.” While the verse is nothing particularly artful, it is heartfelt, and in her illustrations, Mata offers attention-grabbing illustrations of a diverse and enthusiastic group of children. Scenes vary, including classrooms hung with student artwork, an asphalt playground where kids jump double Dutch, and a gym populated with pint-sized basketball players, all clearly part of one bustling neighborhood. Her artistry brings black and brown joy to the forefront of each page. These children evince equal joy in learning and in play. One particularly touching double-page spread depicts two vignettes of a pair of black children, possibly siblings; in one, they cuddle comfortably together, and in the other, the older gives the younger a playful noogie. Adults will appreciate the closing checklist of promises, which emphasize active engagement with school. A closing note very generally introduces principles that underlie the Lebron James Family Foundation’s I Promise School (in Akron, Ohio). (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 15% of actual size.)

Sincere and wholehearted. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-297106-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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