Everything teems with movement and life—completely beguiling.

READ REVIEW

LAUNDRY DAY

One windy day a young shoeshine boy makes a world of new friends.

Unable to make a sale, he looks up to see a long, bright-red scarf drifting down to him as he sits dejectedly on the curb. The story of his search for the owner is told with dialogue balloons in comic-book style. Text and illustrations are mutually dependent as one panel follows another, moving the story along. The plucky little boy fearlessly climbs fire escapes, walks across clothes lines and shimmies up and down pipes. Chinese, African-American, Ukrainian, Italian, Polish, Irish, Jewish and Caribbean Island immigrants all greet him kindly, and he in turn performs small services for them. With each interaction, he is exposed to a bit of their cultures. The dialogue is simple and has the flavor and syntax of each speaker’s homeland with a word from their language nicely incorporated. The scarf is finally returned to its rightful owner, and there’s a surprise reward for the boy. Manning’s expressive and detailed digital pencil, watercolor and pastel drawings depict an unnamed but unmistakable turn-of-the-20th-century New York City. Laundry whips in the wind, and busy people on every floor of the buildings are shown from multiple perspectives.

Everything teems with movement and life—completely beguiling. (foreign word list) (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: April 17, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-547-24196-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012

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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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Cool beans indeed.

THE COOL BEAN

A supposed “has-bean” shows that coolness has more to do with deeds than demeanor.

Offering further moral instruction in this leguminous cousin to The Bad Seed (2017) and The Good Egg (2019), Oswald portrays three beans—each a different species but all sporting boss shades, fly threads, and that requisite air of nonchalance—bringing the cool to streets, hallways, playgrounds, and Leguma Beach. Meanwhile, a fourth (a scraggly-haired chickpea), whose efforts to echo the look and the ’tude have fallen flat, takes on the role of nerdy narrator to recall “olden days” when they all hung out in the same pod. Still, despite rolling separate ways (nobody’s fault: “That’s just how it is sometimes. You spend less time together, even though you’re not totally sure why”), when the uncool bean drops a lunch tray, skins a kid knee on the playground, or just needs a hint in class, one of the others is always on the scene toot suite. No biggie. And passing those casual acts of kindness forward? “Now that’s cool.” John’s good-hearted text makes some hay with the bean puns while Oswald’s pipe-stemmed limbs, googly eyes, and accessories give these anthropomorphic legumes lots of personality. As a fava to young audiences, pair with Jamie Michalak and Frank Kolar’s Frank and Bean (2019) for a musical combination.

Cool beans indeed. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-295452-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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