A good choice for children with younger siblings and cousins, especially Latinos


Returning with his second picture book, Lopez (Mud Tacos, 2009) stresses the importance of family.

Preoccupied with his approaching birthday, Mario cannot find anyone to play with. His sister Marissa and cousin Rosie are having a girls-only tea party in the backyard, while his cousin Chico has baseball practice. Mario is not exactly happy when Nana suggests that he help out by watching his baby cousin, Gia. He begrudgingly agrees, as “[h]e knew he should be responsible.” The exasperation that comes with entertaining a toddler quickly becomes clear in various scenes. Gia keeps calling him “Marigold.” Playing ball in the backyard ends in chaos, and during snacktime, Gia is more interested in playing with her bowl than she is with actually eating. When Mario tries to read Gia a book, she tears a page, leaving Mario frustrated. His anger swiftly melts when Gia asks for a story, and he tells her all about his adventures with his sister and the other cousins. “You’ll see. You’re a part of our family. We’ll teach you everything you need to know.” The book concludes with a joint surprise birthday party for both Gia and Mario. Roos continues the commercial-looking cartoon-style illustrations from the earlier Mario book, which work well with the story, particularly during Mario’s stories.

A good choice for children with younger siblings and cousins, especially Latinos . (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-451-23417-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Celebra/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2011

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It may be his mothers’ wedding day, but it’s Donovan’s big day in Newman’s (Heather Has Two Mommies, 1989, etc.) latest picture book about queer family life. Centered on the child’s experience and refreshingly eschewing reference to controversy, the book emerges as a celebration of not only Mommy’s and Mama’s mutual love but progress toward equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. Readers, however, don't know immediately know why it is “a very BIG day” for Donovan or what the “very BIG job” is that he has to do. In his affectionate, humorous gouache paintings with digital finish, Dutton cleverly includes clues in the form of family pictures in an earlier spread set inside their home, and then a later spread shows Donovan in a suit and placing a “little white satin box that Aunt Jennifer gave him” into his pocket, hinting toward his role as ring bearer. But it’s not until the third-to-last spread that he stands with his parents and hands “one shiny gold ring to Mommy [and] one shiny gold ring to Mama.” He, of course, gets to kiss the brides on the last page, lending a happily-ever-after sensibility to the end of this story about a family's new beginning. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 26, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58246-332-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2011

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A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it.


A multigenerational tale of a boat’s life with a Black family, written by two brothers who loved similar boats.

In the opening spread, a smiling, brown-skinned adult dangles a line from the back of a green-and-white boat while a boy peers eagerly over the side at the sea life. The text never describes years passing, but each page turn reveals the boy’s aging, more urban development on the shore, increasing water pollution, marine-life changes (sea jellies abound on one page), and shifting water levels. Eventually, the boy, now a teenager, steers the boat, and as an adult, he fishes alone but must go farther and farther out to sea to make his catch. One day, the man loses his way, capsizes in a storm, and washes up on a small bay island, with the overturned, sunken boat just offshore. Now a “new sailor” cleans up the land and water with others’ help. The physical similarities between the shipwrecked sailor and the “new sailor” suggest that this is not a new person but one whose near-death experience has led to an epiphany that changes his relationship to water. As the decaying boat becomes a new marine habitat, the sailor teaches the next generation (a child with hair in two Afro puffs) to fish. Focusing primarily on the sea, the book’s earth-toned illustrations, created with hundreds of stamps, carry the compelling plot.

A quiet, thought-provoking story of environmental change and the power humans have to slow it. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-324-00517-9

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Norton Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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