Appealing—if not groundbreaking—reassurance for children of divorce.

THE MIRROR IN MOMMY'S HOUSE / THE MIRROR IN DADDY´S HOUSE

From the Somos8 series

A child reflects on the houses of his separated parents in this dos-à-dos book.

In The Mirror in Mommy’s House, a bespectacled, redheaded white child recalls living with his parents in one house. Holding a pet rabbit close, he remembers gazing into a mirror as his parents quarreled, letting his imagination roam free. Now he has two special, happy houses. The book is a visual delight—Zacarias’ seamless blend of cut-paper collage and pastels adds depth and texture to the story. Yellows and reds bathe Mommy’s house in a warm glow, and love radiates off the page. Vaguely halting text and overly prolific ellipses (“Back then, in that single house, Daddy and Mommy used to argue a lot. And it made me sad…”) are slightly distracting; this is a Spanish import. In The Mirror in Daddy’s House, some may be disappointed to read the same story, more or less. Others may enjoy flipping from side to side to identify differences and similarities in the text and illustrations. (They may also wonder at a continuity flaw in the child’s clothing, noticeable at the center of the book.) Although Daddy’s gray-blues clearly distinguish it from Mommy’s orangey-yellows, they also imbue Daddy’s side with inadvertent sadness. Ultimately, the message that both parents love and share him, while not new, is still worthwhile. The book is also available in Spanish: El Espejo En La Casa de Mamá / El Espejo En La Casa de Papá.

Appealing—if not groundbreaking—reassurance for children of divorce. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-84-945415-5-1

Page Count: 44

Publisher: nubeOCHO

Review Posted Online: March 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2017

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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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WE ARE IN A BOOK!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Stalwart friends Piggie and Gerald the elephant push the metafictive envelope in a big way when they realize that "someone is looking at us." Is it a monster? worries Gerald. "No," replies the squinting Piggie. "It is... / a reader! / A reader is reading us!" How? wonders Gerald. Piggie drapes herself on a word bubble to demonstrate: "We are in a book!" "THAT IS SO COOL!" Joy leads to a little bit of clever practical joking—Piggie figures out how to make the readers say "banana" out loud, and hilarity ensues—which gives way to existential angst: "The book ends?!" exclaims an appalled Gerald. Emergent readers just beginning to grapple one-on-one with the rules of the printed codex will find the friends' antics both funny and provocative: Just who is in control here, anyway? As always, Willems displays his customary control of both body language and pacing even as he challenges his readers to engage with his characters and the physicality of their book . The friends' solution to the book's imminent end? "Hello. Will you please read us again?" You bet. (Early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4231-3308-7

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2010

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