An inspiring tale for inventors of all ages.

READ REVIEW

CLEONARDO, THE LITTLE INVENTOR

A young girl secretly invents a machine to impress her father.

Cleonardo wishes to be an inventor like her father, Geonardo, and grandfather Leonardo. While her father welds metal and hammers bolts, she sources her materials from nature. Cleo offers to help her father for their town’s annual Grand Festival of Inventions, but he does not take her suggestions seriously. In order to impress her father, Cleo decides create her own invention for the festival. With the help of her grandfather and his favorite tool, she secretly constructs her machine using materials found in the forest. Missing his daughter by his side, Geonardo invents his greatest piece, hoping to lure Cleo back to his workshop. On the day of the festival. Geonardo excitedly releases his invention, a mechanical bird, only to have it malfunction and hurtle toward the crowds. It’s up to Cleo to save her townspeople using her forest-inspired invention. GrandPré creates a spirited heroine with both her words and her illustrations. She effortlessly depicts Cleo’s unconventional imagination with the flowers woven through her wavy brown hair and her description of the forest Cleo loves. The story will inspire young readers to embrace their creativity, no matter their preferred medium. Cleo and her family appear to be white; their Renaissance-inflected town is cheerily diverse.

An inspiring tale for inventors of all ages. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-439-35764-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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Fun but earnest, this rhyming romp reminds readers that one young person can make a difference.

SOFIA VALDEZ, FUTURE PREZ

From the Questioneers series

Sofia Valdez proves that community organizers of any age can have a positive impact.

After a trash-heap eyesore causes an injury to her beloved abuelo, Sofia springs into action to bring big change to her neighborhood. The simple rhymes of the text follow Sofia on her journey from problem through ideas to action as she garners community support for an idyllic new park to replace the dangerous junk pile. When bureaucracy threatens to quash Sofia’s nascent plan, she digs deep and reflects that “being brave means doing the thing you must do, / though your heart cracks with fear. / Though you’re just in Grade Two.” Sofia’s courage yields big results and inspires those around her to lend a hand. Implied Latinx, Sofia and her abuelo have medium brown skin, and Sofia has straight brown hair (Abuelo is bald). Readers will recognize Iggy Peck, Rosie Revere, and Ada Twist from Beaty’s previous installments in the Questioneers series making cameo appearances in several scenes. While the story connects back to the title and her aptitude for the presidency in only the second-to-last sentence of the book, Sofia’s leadership and grit are themes throughout. Roberts’ signature illustration style lends a sense of whimsy; detailed drawings will have readers scouring each page for interesting minutiae.

Fun but earnest, this rhyming romp reminds readers that one young person can make a difference. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3704-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

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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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