ALL KINDS OF FAMILIES!

Readers who approach this title expecting a 21st-century love-makes-a-family message overtly embracing adoptive, queer, blended and other diverse family constellations will be disappointed. Instead of approaching “all kinds of families” in this way, however, the author riffs on “family” as a synonym for “group,” describing not only human relationships but placing inanimate objects, animals and other things into family groups. The result is vintage Hoberman: Clever, rhyming wordplay mining a single concept for all it’s worth and a singsong cadence that begs to be read aloud combine to produce a text reminiscent of earlier collaborations with Betty Fraser in A House is a House for Me (1978) and The Cozy Book (1999). French artist Boutavant’s stylized, digitally produced illustrations are a clear departure from Fraser’s watercolors, but they share a high attention to detail, inviting children to pore over pictures for new discoveries on every page opening. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-316-14633-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2009

Categories:

BECAUSE YOUR DADDY LOVES YOU

Give this child’s-eye view of a day at the beach with an attentive father high marks for coziness: “When your ball blows across the sand and into the ocean and starts to drift away, your daddy could say, Didn’t I tell you not to play too close to the waves? But he doesn’t. He wades out into the cold water. And he brings your ball back to the beach and plays roll and catch with you.” Alley depicts a moppet and her relaxed-looking dad (to all appearances a single parent) in informally drawn beach and domestic settings: playing together, snuggling up on the sofa and finally hugging each other goodnight. The third-person voice is a bit distancing, but it makes the togetherness less treacly, and Dad’s mix of love and competence is less insulting, to parents and children both, than Douglas Wood’s What Dads Can’t Do (2000), illus by Doug Cushman. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 23, 2005

ISBN: 0-618-00361-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2005

THERE'S A ROCK CONCERT IN MY BEDROOM

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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