This well-intentioned effort will surely comfort children coping with similar situations and may lead to further discussions...

GRANDPA MONTY'S MUDDLES

First-person narration from a likable 7-year-old boy describes how he is adapting to the changes that follow once his grandfather moves in after experiencing increased memory loss.

Zafrilla gives Oscar a straightforward yet caring voice to address readers, successfully drawing them into his world, where Grandpa Monty acts strangely, and his family needs to share responsibilities for his care. At first, Grandpa’s actions seemed a bit funny, ironing a fish and trying to open a tree with mailbox keys. But safety becomes a concern, so he moves in, and family members take turns being with Monty so he is never alone. In an effort to help his grandfather, Oscar devises ways to help him “exercise” his memory. The duo look at old photo albums, read the newspaper and do math. Oscar creates a “ ‘word album,’ which [is] really a miniature dictionary with…words from around [the] house.” Diaz ably reflects the text and extends it with gentle touches of humor; Monty takes a sip out of a flower vase and lobs a pumpkin at the basketball hoop. The ending, however, may seem oddly open-ended. Oscar decides to make another album with the names of the states and capitals to further help exercise Grandpa’s memory and to study his lessons at the same time. So the last line questions, “Do you make albums with everything you learn, too?”

This well-intentioned effort will surely comfort children coping with similar situations and may lead to further discussions on how children can help when someone is unwell. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-84-15-24117-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cuento de Luz

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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Well-meaning and with a lovely presentation, this sentimental effort may be aimed more at adults than kids.

MY LITTLE BRAVE GIRL

Little girls are given encouragement and assurance so they can meet the challenges of life as they move through the big, wide world.

Delicately soft watercolor-style art depicts naturalistic scenes with a diverse quintet of little girls portraying potential situations they will encounter, as noted by a narrative heavily dependent on a series of clichés. “The stars are high, and you can reach them,” it promises as three of the girls chase fireflies under a star-filled night sky. “Oceans run deep, and you will learn to swim,” it intones as one girl treads water and another leans over the edge of a boat to observe life on the ocean floor. “Your feet will take many steps, my brave little girl. / Let your heart lead the way.” Girls gingerly step across a brook before making their way through a meadow. The point of all these nebulous metaphors seems to be to inculcate in girls the independence, strength, and confidence they’ll need to succeed in their pursuits. Trying new things, such as foods, is a “delicious new adventure.” Though the quiet, gentle text is filled with uplifting words that parents will intuitively relate to or comprehend, the esoteric messages may be a bit sentimental and ambiguous for kids to understand or even connect to. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.5-by-19-inch double-page spreads viewed at 50% of actual size.)

Well-meaning and with a lovely presentation, this sentimental effort may be aimed more at adults than kids. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-30072-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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Like a faithful teddy, sure to become a favorite for many readers.

LOUIS

A hug is a powerful thing.

Louis, a stuffed teddy bear, has grievances: His owner, a dark-haired kid with light-brown skin, has mistreated Louis in a variety of ways, including using the bear as a hankie, burying the toy in the sand, and subjecting him to the terrors of the washing machine. After Louis suffers the final indignity—almost being left behind on public transportation—the bear plans to make his escape. Savvy readers may surmise that Louis’ heart isn’t completely in this grand departure, as the teddy delays based on rain, cupcake-filled tea parties, and being the star of show-and-tell due to bravery during the bus incident. When the perfect moment to desert finally arrives, a last-minute hug helps Louis realize how much the kid loves and appreciates him. It’s a charming, genuinely sweet ending to a well-crafted story that leaves lots of openings for Rowan-Zoch’s boldly colored, crisp cartoon artwork to deliver a vibrant pop that will be appreciated in both large storytimes and intimate lap reads. Louis is marvelously expressive, panicking, glaring, and unexpectedly softening by turns. Caregivers and educators may see an opportunity in the story to engage in creative writing or storytelling based on the readers’ own favorite stuffed friends. Louis’ owner’s mom appears in one scene wearing a salwar kameez, suggesting the family is of South Asian heritage.

Like a faithful teddy, sure to become a favorite for many readers. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-328-49806-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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