MY BLUE BUNNY, BUBBIT

New older siblings won’t be blue for long thanks to this sweet, if special, offering.

Part special–stuffed-animal tale, part new-baby story, part craft extravaganza, this picture book has a little something for everyone, so long as that “everyone” enjoys sewing narratives.

When she was born, the unnamed heroine of this tale was given a handmade stuffed blue bunny named Bubbit by her much-beloved grandmother. Now a new baby has been born to the family, and the new big sister wants to make sure her brother has something just as special. After consulting with her grandma, the two set about creating a soft yellow elephant from the little girl’s outgrown coat and scraps from well-loved clothing. Will the new baby come to love it? A snapshot of the near future yields the answer. With art consisting of a melding of pencil, fabric, gouache and digital illustration, the textures embedded into the pictures give the book a tactile, homey feel. The writing itself is strong, though no one would mistake this as a story for all expectant older sibs. After all, the focus on the craft of sewing will appeal mostly as a novelty for those in the intended age group. That said, it would be the rare child that reads this and then doesn’t hanker for a blue “Bubbit” of their very own.

New older siblings won’t be blue for long thanks to this sweet, if special, offering. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-547-55861-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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THERE'S A ROCK CONCERT IN MY BEDROOM

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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