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A mixed bag thematically but a delicious collection nevertheless. (Picture book/poetry. 6-11)

An eclectic collection of recipes—not for cooking but for life.

Employing myriad forms—from traditional sonnets to syncopated free verse—Singer hopscotches from themes revealing commonalities among food, recipes, and poetry to broader, kid-friendly treatments of nature, reading, and social studies. The collection starts with a definition: “What’s in a good recipe? / Something right for me and you / Steps to follow, A to Z.” Another poem draws parallels between writing and cooking: “Sometimes you must follow things strictly word for word. / Sometimes it’s more lively if you improvise.” A cluster of haiku becomes a guide to enjoying the seasons: “Pomegranate seeds: / In fall, I am rich enough / to dine on rubies.” Another poem muses on memories: “Sometimes it’s just a sharp whiff of mustard, / and you recall being at the ballpark.” Toward the end of the book, poems grow increasingly sophisticated, offering recipes for courage and understanding. Priceman’s playful combination of collage, printmaking, and energetic brush strokes evokes the offbeat nostalgia of a grandma’s recipe box. Her inclusion of a multiracial cast is commendable. While most of the poems tickle the imagination and roll smoothly off the tongue, a few fall flat, such as this that ends, “Although sometimes, / you’re bound to fail, / keep measuring—and use a scale.”

A mixed bag thematically but a delicious collection nevertheless. (Picture book/poetry. 6-11)

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7352-2790-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Hundreds of pages of unbridled uplift boiled down to 40.

From two Nobel Peace Prize winners, an invitation to look past sadness and loneliness to the joy that surrounds us.

Bobbing in the wake of 2016’s heavyweight Book of Joy (2016), this brief but buoyant address to young readers offers an earnest insight: “If you just focus on the thing that is making / you sad, then the sadness is all you see. / But if you look around, you will / see that joy is everywhere.” López expands the simply delivered proposal in fresh and lyrical ways—beginning with paired scenes of the authors as solitary children growing up in very different circumstances on (as they put it) “opposite sides of the world,” then meeting as young friends bonded by streams of rainbow bunting and going on to share their exuberantly hued joy with a group of dancers diverse in terms of age, race, culture, and locale while urging readers to do the same. Though on the whole this comes off as a bit bland (the banter and hilarity that characterized the authors’ recorded interchanges are absent here) and their advice just to look away from the sad things may seem facile in view of what too many children are inescapably faced with, still, it’s hard to imagine anyone in the world more qualified to deliver such a message than these two. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Hundreds of pages of unbridled uplift boiled down to 40. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-48423-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

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Anemic messages of hope from an iconic activist.

Civil rights legend Bridges encourages young people to persevere.

After becoming the face of school integration at just 6 years old, Bridges continued to further her legacy by visiting schools across the U.S. Over the past 25 years, she has received letters from thousands of students with “ideas and concerns that ran deeper than we grown-ups gave them credit for.” In her latest book for kids, Bridges responds to notes from children grappling with political and social crises, including anti-Asian racism, climate change, and gun violence. The issues that matter to young Americans come alive in Cabuay’s energetic illustrations, which make deft use of color and texture. On one spread, a short, brown-skinned child named Tala, bullied for being short, strides confidently down a school hallway past classmates who whisper and laugh. In the accompanying letter, Tala talks about drawing strength from Bridges’ bravery; Bridges’ reply emphasizes that “it’s okay to be different because what really matters is your heart and what’s inside!” The correspondences are brief, barely skimming the surface, and Bridges’ messages are too general to have a genuine impact. Backmatter, which includes a glossary with pronunciation guides, is helpful but does little to connect Bridges’ historic contributions to the issues young people are facing today. This picture book’s superficial discussion of important topics doesn’t live up to Bridges’ advocacy or Cabuay’s dynamic art.

Anemic messages of hope from an iconic activist. (more information on Bridges) (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2024

ISBN: 9781338753912

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2023

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