Next book


From the Little People, BIG DREAMS series , Vol. 80

A passable introduction to the life of Elvis Presley.

A new entry in the Little People, BIG DREAMS series recounts the life story of the King of Rock ’n’ Roll.

Presley’s early musical influences—country and blues music—are established in the opening spreads describing his childhood. He is shown playing the guitar and glancing over at his Black neighbors, who are given to “singing blues on the porch,” while his mother hangs out wash and sings. Vegara weaves this theme of Presley’s affinity with the Black community throughout the story. Albero’s signature caricatures and flat scenes depict turning points in the icon’s life: his family’s move from Mississippi to Tennessee, his military service, his purchase of a mansion for his family, and his mother’s death. The book also covers career highlights: winning a school talent show, making his first commercial record, developing his dancing moves, and being awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at age 36. Mention is made of his movies and televised tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. The biography concludes by noting that Presley was “the irreplaceable artist who changed the course of music history and made sure that no song would be black or white ever again.” While the facts of Presley’s life are presented, the undefined musical concepts will fly over the heads of many young readers, making the relationship between race and music less meaningful. For a more emotionally charged, age-appropriate profile, read Jonah Winter’s Elvis Is King (2019). (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A passable introduction to the life of Elvis Presley. (timeline, further reading) (Picture-book biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 17, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-7112-7087-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

Next book


Amusing but a little off tempo.

It’s important to hit all the right notes.

A tan-skinned musical composer with puffy black hair is busy at work on his next musical masterpiece when Half Note, a music symbol denoting two beats, feels unappreciated. Half Note is jealous of the more commonly used Quarter Note (one beat) and Eighth Note. Although the other musical symbols attempt to calm and comfort Half Note, she decides to run away. The next day, Composer needs Half Note and panics when he realizes that she’s gone. The other notes and musical symbols try to find her, but it’s only when they try to play her favorite song, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” without her—with terrible results—that she comes running back. The story’s humor—which is largely based on “dad joke” puns—is completely dependent on readers’ musical knowledge. The artwork, a mix of acrylic and colored pencil, attempts to add some allegrezza to the piece, and while it’s not unsuccessful, it’s facing an uphill battle. Music teachers and musically minded caregivers may find some value in this story, but it will likely be too specialized for general readers. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Amusing but a little off tempo. (glossary) (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 14, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-64567-631-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Page Street

Review Posted Online: Dec. 23, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2023

Next book


From the Lucy Tries Sports series

It’s a slam dunk

Lucy discovers that the way to learn to play basketball is with friends on a neighborhood court.

Lucy loves playing in the park, and one day she and her friends join their friend Ava and her cousin in their new favorite sport: basketball. Pro player Jermaine, aka “Coach J,” teaches all the basics—footwork, quick passes, dribbling, and a variety of shots. But he also encourages the players to keep trying when they miss, stresses the value of teamwork, and focuses on fun as they learn and later play a practice game. At the end of the workout, Coach J invites the young players to watch him and his team play. Written in loose rhyming couplets, the text has many near rhymes and inconsistent meter. While the storyline is predictable, the book is a good introduction to basketball terms, and young basketball players and fans will appreciate reading about themselves. Vivid silhouetted figures against a white background portray male and female players of several races; Lucy herself is white while Ava and Coach J are black. One young player competes from a wheelchair. A half page of backmatter explains the history of basketball, the NBA and its players, and wheelchair basketball, and one entry also explains the three-on-three basketball that the children play. The book publishes in a simultaneous French edition translated by Rachel Martinez.

It’s a slam dunk . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4598-1697-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orca

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

Close Quickview