Turning the tables shines the light on poor sportsmanship. Will Fergus and Lowery next address bad behavior in the...

THE DAY DAD JOINED MY SOCCER TEAM

Dad is schooled about more than soccer the day he “volunteers” to help out his child’s team.

In this role-reversal book, the unnamed first-person narrator, an avid soccer player, is mortified by the sudden change in Dad’s behavior after he dons a jersey and assumes a position on the field. In fact, Dad exhibits all the bad behaviors: whining to the coach, focusing on winning at all costs, picking flowers on the field, fooling around on the sideline, running off to play on the slides, hogging the ball, grumping when the team’s goalie misses a save, and throwing a fit about an accidental foul. The narrator consults Coach, a dark-skinned bald man, who has some words of wisdom, encouraging them to work with Dad’s energy and enthusiasm to focus on being a good sport (a clipboard lists the four points for readers). Remarkably, the father turns his act around in the second half but in the end decides that volunteering for snacks may be more his speed. Lowery’s Photoshop illustrations are filled with bright, flat colors spotlighting the father’s hijinks and the characters’ emotions. Both dad and child have brown hair and light brown skin. The other players are diverse in terms of both race and gender presentation.

Turning the tables shines the light on poor sportsmanship. Will Fergus and Lowery next address bad behavior in the bleachers? (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-77138-654-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited.

LET'S DANCE!

Dancing is one of the most universal elements of cultures the world over.

In onomatopoeic, rhyming text, Bolling encourages readers to dance in styles including folk dance, classical ballet, breakdancing, and line dancing. Read aloud, the zippy text will engage young children: “Tappity Tap / Fingers Snap,” reads the rhyme on the double-page spread for flamenco; “Jiggity-Jig / Zig-zag-zig” describes Irish step dancing. The ballet pages stereotypically include only children in dresses or tutus, but one of these dancers wears hijab. Overall, children included are racially diverse and vary in gender presentation. Diaz’s illustrations show her background in animated films; her active child dancers generally have the large-eyed sameness of cartoon characters. The endpapers, with shoes and musical instruments, could become a matching game with pages in the book. The dances depicted are described at the end, including kathak from India and kuku from Guinea, West Africa. Unfortunately, these explanations are quite rudimentary. Kathak dancers use their facial expressions extensively in addition to the “movements of their hands and their jingling feet,” as described in the book. Although today kuku is danced at all types of celebrations in several countries, it was once done after fishing, an activity acknowledged in the illustrations but not mentioned in the explanatory text.

The snappy text will get toes tapping, but the information it carries is limited. (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-63592-142-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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