MAMA LOVED TO WORRY

Readers’ own mothers’ worries will seem tame in comparison. Follow this up with some McBroom for more tall tales from the...

A tall tale fit for worrying mothers everywhere.

Mama’s won blue ribbons in worrying, and between Midwestern weather and a toddler as slippery and wandering as her Eli, it’s no wonder. Well, when Mama gets to worrying, she tends to keep her hands busy. When she worries about a twister carrying off the farm, she knits scarves and hats and mittens for the farm animals—until she realizes that a twister really is carrying off baby Eli. And when she worries about the heat drying up the creek, she sews clothes for all the uncles, aunts, and cousins—until the river of sweat pouring off her sweeps off baby Eli. And when she worries about the heat popping the corn in the field, she cooks up a storm—until she notices that baby Eli is missing yet again. Some searching finds both him and some peace at last for worrying Mama. Balsaitis’ illustrations, which appear to be watercolor, extend the fun—the farm animals get into just as much mischief as Eli, and Mama’s Amelia Bedelia expressions play up her naiveté. While there is some diversity among the extended family, Mama and Eli are both white, his bowl haircut framing his innocent face.

Readers’ own mothers’ worries will seem tame in comparison. Follow this up with some McBroom for more tall tales from the farm. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-87351-994-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Minnesota Historical Society Press

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

THE ADVENTURES OF HENRY WHISKERS

From the Adventures of Henry Whiskers series , Vol. 1

Innocuous adventuring on the smallest of scales.

The Mouse and the Motorcycle (1965) upgrades to The Mice and the Rolls-Royce.

In Windsor Castle there sits a “dollhouse like no other,” replete with working plumbing, electricity, and even a full library of real, tiny books. Called Queen Mary’s Dollhouse, it also plays host to the Whiskers family, a clan of mice that has maintained the house for generations. Henry Whiskers and his cousin Jeremy get up to the usual high jinks young mice get up to, but when Henry’s little sister Isabel goes missing at the same time that the humans decide to clean the house up, the usually bookish big brother goes on the adventure of his life. Now Henry is driving cars, avoiding cats, escaping rats, and all before the upcoming mouse Masquerade. Like an extended version of Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Two Bad Mice (1904), Priebe keeps this short chapter book constantly moving, with Duncan’s peppy art a cute capper. Oddly, the dollhouse itself plays only the smallest of roles in this story, and no factual information on the real Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House is included at the tale’s end (an opportunity lost).

Innocuous adventuring on the smallest of scales. (Fantasy. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-6575-5

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

BUILD A HOUSE

A stunning, honest, yet age-appropriate depiction of historical injustice.

Giddens’ song commemorating the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth is adapted into a picture book centering history and resilience.

Written in second person, the story begins “You brought me here / to build your house” and depicts a Black family joining enslaved Black laborers in a field, transported and supervised by a White person. The family helps the others lay bricks and pick cotton until they are sent away, with the White person gesturing for them to leave (“you told me… // GO”). Against a backdrop of green fields and blue mountains, the family finds “a place / To build my house,” enjoying freedom, until “you said I couldn’t / Build a house / And so you burnt it…// DOWN.” Beside the ashes, the family writes a song; images depict instruments and musical notes being pulled from the family; and another illustration shows White people dancing and playing. The family travels “far and wide” and finds a new place where they can write a song and “put my story down.” Instruments in hand, the family establishes itself once again in the land. This deeply moving portrait of the push and pull of history is made concrete through Mikai’s art, which features bright green landscapes, expressive faces, and ultimately hopeful compositions. Giddens’ powerful, spare poetry, spanning centuries of American history, is breathtaking. Readers who discover her music through this book and the online recording (included as a QR code) will be forever glad they picked up this book. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A stunning, honest, yet age-appropriate depiction of historical injustice. (afterword) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5362-2252-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 7, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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