KITAQ GOES ICE FISHING

A descriptive narrative of a young Yup’ik boy’s initiation rite—ice fishing with his grandfather for the first time. Kitaq’s excitement swells with the pancakes in his stomach as he proudly dresses himself in layers to go ice fishing. “Apa, I am big now,” he tells his grandfather, and assures him he can, at five, walk a long way in the cold without crying. With a string on a pole dangling in the ice hole and salmon eggs for bait, Kitaq almost instantaneously catches a pike large enough to feed a whole family. The formal patterns of speech give the story a polite, respectful tone, although the instructional voice of the narrator reigns in the suspense of snagging a fish and distances readers from the excitement of Kitaq’s adventure. Overcoming that small weakness is the afterword about Yup’ik life—it’s informative and unexpectedly compelling. Startling reds of clothing and sunsets add warmth to the thick blue wintry scenes of the oil paintings. The look of the short day in the long polar winter comes through, as well as the affection among Kitaq’s family members. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-88240-504-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1998

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A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy.

ROBOBABY

Robo-parents Diode and Lugnut present daughter Cathode with a new little brother—who requires, unfortunately, some assembly.

Arriving in pieces from some mechanistic version of Ikea, little Flange turns out to be a cute but complicated tyke who immediately falls apart…and then rockets uncontrollably about the room after an overconfident uncle tinkers with his basic design. As a squad of helpline techies and bevies of neighbors bearing sludge cake and like treats roll in, the cluttered and increasingly crowded scene deteriorates into madcap chaos—until at last Cath, with help from Roomba-like robodog Sprocket, stages an intervention by whisking the hapless new arrival off to a backyard workshop for a proper assembly and software update. “You’re such a good big sister!” warbles her frazzled mom. Wiesner’s robots display his characteristic clean lines and even hues but endearingly look like vaguely anthropomorphic piles of random jet-engine parts and old vacuum cleaners loosely connected by joints of armored cable. They roll hither and thither through neatly squared-off panels and pages in infectiously comical dismay. Even the end’s domestic tranquility lasts only until Cathode spots the little box buried in the bigger one’s packing material: “TWINS!” (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 52% of actual size.)

A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-544-98731-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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PANDA KISSES

When a young panda asks each of his parents for a kiss, they give him choices: “A soft kiss? / A sweet kiss? / A sticky bamboo treat kiss?” High or low, in the sun or the rain, from a bunny or a fish? In the end the young panda determines that “There are many kisses that will do! / But the best kiss is—from both of you!” A large font, rhythm and rhyme, picture clues and a low word count per page will help emergent readers succeed. Widdowson’s bright illustrations scatter Chinese elements throughout, adding international flair, and sprinkle other animals exchanging smooches for extra interest. A sweet treat to share with a beginning reader. (Early reader. 4-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 9, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-375-84562-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2008

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