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A welcome, if slightly uneven, addition to the growing canon of children’s books about emotional literacy.

This German import reminds children that feelings, as well as some physical impulses, are universal.

The illustrations, which appear screen-printed, depict individualized children of various ethnicities and racial presentations in different settings. Their varied skin tones are rendered in deeply saturated colors and include realistic shades, such as beige and brown, but also stylized ones, such as blue, orange, mossy green, and literal black. The verso of each spread begins with “Everybody,” the remainder of the text exploring various feelings and physical states of being. Everybody feels happiness, fear, ennui, loneliness, anger, and more. Everybody plays, eats, sleeps, “gets hurt sometimes,” and dreams. In one spread, readers observe that “everybody pees,” some while standing and some while sitting down, and the book doesn’t shy from depicting children relieving themselves in various positions. The spread about sorrow verges on reductive. It states: “Just remember that the sadness will pass and you will be happy again,” even if it’s not always that simple for children, or perhaps some adults in their lives, suffering from severe depression. That aside, the book is an inclusive and generous reminder to children that everyone experiences intense feelings, which may help some readers feel less isolated or even, in some cases, reduce their anxiety. Unfortunately, there’s a glaring grammar error toward the book’s close (“The thought of some treats can make some mouth’s water”).

A welcome, if slightly uneven, addition to the growing canon of children’s books about emotional literacy. (Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2020

ISBN: 978-3-89955-855-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little Gestalten

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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From the Find Momo series , Vol. 7

A well-meaning but lackluster tribute.

Readers bid farewell to a beloved canine character.

Momo is—or was—an adorable and very photogenic border collie owned by author Knapp. The many readers who loved him in the previous half-dozen books are in for a shock with this one. “Momo had died” is the stark reality—and there are no photographs of him here. Instead, Momo has been replaced by a flat cartoonish pastiche with strange, staring round white eyes, inserted into some of Knapp’s photography (which remains appealing, insofar as it can be discerned under the mixed media). Previous books contained few or no words. Unfortunately, virtuosity behind a lens does not guarantee mastery of verse. The art here is accompanied by words that sometimes rhyme but never find a workable or predictable rhythm (“We’d fetch and we’d catch, / we’d run and we’d jump. Every day we found new / games to play”). It’s a pity, because the subject—a pet’s death—is an important one to address with children. Of course, Momo isn’t gone; he can still be found “everywhere” in memories. But alas, he can be found here only in the crude depictions of the darling dog so well known from the earlier books.

A well-meaning but lackluster tribute. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781683693864

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Quirk Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

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A sweet and endearing feathered migration.

A relationship between a Latina grandmother and her mixed-race granddaughter serves as the frame to depict the ruby-throated hummingbird migration pattern.

In Granny’s lap, a girl is encouraged to “keep still” as the intergenerational pair awaits the ruby-throated hummingbirds with bowls of water in their hands. But like the granddaughter, the tz’unun—“the word for hummingbird in several [Latin American] languages”—must soon fly north. Over the next several double-page spreads, readers follow the ruby-throated hummingbird’s migration pattern from Central America and Mexico through the United States all the way to Canada. Davies metaphorically reunites the granddaughter and grandmother when “a visitor from Granny’s garden” crosses paths with the girl in New York City. Ray provides delicately hashed lines in the illustrations that bring the hummingbirds’ erratic flight pattern to life as they travel north. The watercolor palette is injected with vibrancy by the addition of gold ink, mirroring the hummingbirds’ flashing feathers in the slants of light. The story is supplemented by notes on different pages with facts about the birds such as their nest size, diet, and flight schedule. In addition, a note about ruby-throated hummingbirds supplies readers with detailed information on how ornithologists study and keep track of these birds.

A sweet and endearing feathered migration. (bibliography, index) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0538-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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