The call to revel in the glorious patchwork that is “us” blazes forth from this paean of acceptance.

PATCHWORK

Being pigeonholed or restricted limits the multifaceted expressions of humanity.

Children blossom with the encouragement to explore and define themselves. But de la Peña and Luyken demonstrate that even before we are born, we are steered to fit into molds that often chafe, from gender-reveal events (“You were blue before you were even born”) to the restrictive opinions of educators (“You are the kid perpetually in time-out”). But the freedom to experiment offers many opportunities; a love of dancing might lead to coding or a passion for sports to spinning “couplets on your finger.” Whether you discover the transformative power of kindness or harness ideas to pull people to your cause, the infinite choices that form the rich canvas of our lives are empowering. With a nudge here and a turn there, each jolt of awareness reveals the kaleidoscopic expanse of realities within us all. De la Peña’s lyrical observations and proclamations take the mind from complacent to questioning to affirming. His gentle guidance from page to page creates a poetry of understanding—we are more than what is expected of us. Luyken depicts a diverse group of children, using a palette of pastel pink, blue, lavender, and yellow and a subtle pattern evoking patchwork on each page to highlight the transformative power of self-discovery. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

The call to revel in the glorious patchwork that is “us” blazes forth from this paean of acceptance. (Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-984813-96-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2022

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This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez,...

MANGO, ABUELA, AND ME

Abuela is coming to stay with Mia and her parents. But how will they communicate if Mia speaks little Spanish and Abuela, little English? Could it be that a parrot named Mango is the solution?

The measured, evocative text describes how Mia’s español is not good enough to tell Abuela the things a grandmother should know. And Abuela’s English is too poquito to tell Mia all the stories a granddaughter wants to hear. Mia sets out to teach her Abuela English. A red feather Abuela has brought with her to remind her of a wild parrot that roosted in her mango trees back home gives Mia an idea. She and her mother buy a parrot they name Mango. And as Abuela and Mia teach Mango, and each other, to speak both Spanish and English, their “mouths [fill] with things to say.” The accompanying illustrations are charmingly executed in ink, gouache, and marker, “with a sprinkling of digital magic.” They depict a cheery urban neighborhood and a comfortable, small apartment. Readers from multigenerational immigrant families will recognize the all-too-familiar language barrier. They will also cheer for the warm and loving relationship between Abuela and Mia, which is evident in both text and illustrations even as the characters struggle to understand each other. A Spanish-language edition, Mango, Abuela, y yo, gracefully translated by Teresa Mlawer, publishes simultaneously.

This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez, an honoree. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6900-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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Sweet, good-hearted fun.

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THE SOUR GRAPE

From the Food Group series

A recovering curmudgeon narrates life lessons in the latest entry in the punny Food Group series.

Grape wasn’t always sour, as they explain in this origin story. Grape’s arc starts with an idyllic childhood within “a close-knit bunch” in a community of “about three thousand.” The sweet-to-sour switch begins when Grape plans an elaborate birthday party to which no one shows up. Going from “sweet” to “bitter,” “snappy,” and, finally, “sour,” Grape “scowled so much that my face got all squishy.” Minor grudges become major. An aha moment occurs when a run of bad luck makes Grape three hours late for a meetup with best friend Lenny, who’s just as acidic as Grape. After the irate lemon storms off, Grape recognizes their own behavior in Lenny. Alone, Grape begins to enjoy the charms of a lovely evening. Once home, the fruit browses through a box of memorabilia, discovering that the old birthday party invitation provided the wrong date! “I realized nobody’s perfect. Not even me.” Remaining pages reverse the downturn as Grape observes that minor setbacks are easily weathered when the emphasis is on talking, listening, and working things out. Oswald’s signature illustrations depict Grape and company with big eyes and tiny limbs. The best sight gag occurs early: Grape’s grandparents are depicted as elegant raisins. The lessons are as valuable as in previous outings, and kids won’t mind the slight preachiness. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sweet, good-hearted fun. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-304541-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

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