An attractive introduction to the topic.


Ajmera’s To Be a Kid (with co-author and photographer John D. Ivanko, 1999) focused on kids the world over engaged in play; in a similar format, this latest examines what children need in order to stay healthy.

Eye-catching photos are the centerpiece of this book. Each spread lists one thing that healthy kids need—“Healthy kids need clean water to drink”—while the labeled photographs show several children from different countries and how that need is met for them: A child drinks from a water fountain in Japan, and another uses a pump well in India; in Ghana, a girl pours water from a bucket carried atop her head. Healthy kids also need good food, clean bodies and teeth, a place to use the bathroom, a home, medical care and vaccinations, exercise, protection from the elements, safety gear such as seat belts and helmets, and most of all, loving families and communities. A multicolored world map highlights the countries mentioned, and backmatter explains how, in some areas of the world, those needs are difficult to meet and what kids, no matter where they live, can do to make sure they stay healthy. When this is paired with the likes of David J. Smith’s This Child, Every Child (illustrated by Shelagh Armstrong, 2011), readers will learn not only what kids need, but just how many kids lack these basic necessities.

An attractive introduction to the topic. (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-58089-436-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2013

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Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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Confusing but celebratory.


A story about two girls with curly/Afro-textured hair.

Best friends Preciosa and Rudine, both with brown skin and tight, vibrant curls, share this hair story. It begins with their births, both girls adored by their families. Conflict soon arrives in the form of “cyclone” hair that family members attempt to straighten. Preciosa’s and Rudine’s expressive faces, rendered in Morris’ colorful digital-and–collaged-tissue art (which excels at conveying emotion throughout the story), make it clear that hair-straightening rituals are both unpleasant and unwanted. Freedom comes in the form of heat that sets their natural hair free once more. At this point, the story may confuse readers with scenes (of the girls, of their moms, of famous Black and Latinx people) that aren’t always connected. Ultimately, this well-intentioned story leaves some important questions unanswered, but it also affirms the beauty of natural hair. Despite obstacles, those looking for more stories centering hair diversity may find this a good conversation starter. Preciosa and her family all have brown skin and speak Spanish, and Rudine and her family are Black; the story is porous enough that Afro-Latinx readers might see themselves in either girl.

Confusing but celebratory. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5415-7916-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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