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A warm tale of passing the love of the family farm from one generation to the next.

A young boy learns about a beloved family farm.

In this sequel to Grandpa’s Tractor (2011), Grandma and Timmy take a sentimental journey to the old farm, now abandoned and in disrepair, where his mother grew up, and Grandma shares stories and notes from her diary while Timmy imagines his mother’s early life. As the pair walk around the farm, they talk about all the chores, such as feeding the pigs—and catching them when they escaped—planting, picking, and selling vegetables, gathering and candling eggs, and shearing sheep. But farm life isn’t all work. Grandma recalls how the family had fun fishing, playing family baseball and board games, watching TV, reading, and visiting the library each week. The trip is a success, and the book closes with Timmy feeling closer to both Grandma and his mother and eager to plant a garden of his own. Full-color digital illustrations have the realistic feel of scrapbook photos—they may have faded a bit, but the important details are in clear focus. In fact, reading the book feels like peering over Grandma’s shoulder as she shares her scrapbook and stories with Timmy. The story is alive with farm life details that young readers will appreciate. Timmy and his extended family present as White. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A warm tale of passing the love of the family farm from one generation to the next. (author’s note) (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-63592-583-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Astra Young Readers

Review Posted Online: July 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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From the How To Catch… series

A syrupy tribute to mothers that may please fans of the series.

Another creature is on the loose.

The long-running series continues its successful formula with this Hallmark card of a book, which features bright illustrations and catchy rhymes. This time, the mythical creature the racially diverse children set out to catch is an absent mom who does it all (lists of descriptors include the words banker, caregiver, nurse, doctor, driver, chef, housekeeper, teacher, entertainer, playmate, laundry service, problem solver, handywoman, cleaner, and alarm clock) but doesn’t seem to have a job outside the home and is inexplicably a dinosaur. As the children prepare gifts and a meal for her, the text becomes an ode to the skills the Mamasaurus possesses (“Day or night she’s always there. / She meets every wish and need”) and values she instills (“Sometimes life can mean hard work,” “kindness matters,” and “what counts is doing your best”). This well-intentioned selection veers into cliche generously sprinkled with saccharine but manages to redeem itself with its appreciation for mothers and all that they may do. Endpapers include a “to” and “from” page framed in a heart, as well as a page where young gift givers or recipients can draw a picture of their Mamasaurus.

A syrupy tribute to mothers that may please fans of the series. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 5, 2024

ISBN: 9781728274300

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Sourcebooks Wonderland

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2024

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