Needed, but there is still lots of room for better books to come.

MY TWO MOMS AND ME

A new board book about babies and toddlers with pairs of moms.

This title will help address the dearth of materials for young children with depictions of two-mom families. First-person, affirming text is delivered in a matter-of-fact voice detailing moments in the daily routine of a young child with two moms. “At the pool, my moms bounce me in the water. What a life!” reads a representative spread. The accompanying illustrations don’t follow one child and their parents, however. Instead, each spread shows a different child (or in some spreads two children) interacting with their moms. This opens up possibilities for racially diverse representation, and many impeccably dressed families depicted in the retro-style art by fashion illustrator Zenou appear multiracial. Diversity doesn’t include depictions of people with visible disabilities (apart from two moms wearing glasses), and adults appear uniformly slim and mostly cisgender. The companion title about children with two dads is similarly executed with a first-person child’s voice, racially diverse characters, and limited representation of other diversity. It is a pity for the baby and toddler audience that the illustrations do not embrace the blank backgrounds of cover art and instead fill every bit of space. Both titles will undoubtedly be scooped up by families seeking queer representation in board books.

Needed, but there is still lots of room for better books to come. (Board book. 6 mos.-2)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-58012-6

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer.

PEPPA'S GIANT PUMPKIN

From the Peppa Pig series

Peppa hopes to join her classmates in a Halloween pumpkin competition in this adaptation of a story from the popular British television program Peppa Pig.

With the help of Granny and Grandpa Pig, Peppa turns her giant pumpkin, which is the size of a compact car, into a jack-o’-lantern. The trio is flummoxed when it comes time to transport the pumpkin to the competition, so they call on Miss Rabbit and her helicopter to airlift the pumpkin to the festivities as Peppa and her grandparents ride inside. Peppa arrives just in time for the contest and wins the prize for best flying pumpkin. The scenes look as if they are pulled directly from the television show, right down to the rectangular framing of some of the scenes. While the story is literally nothing new, the text is serviceable, describing the action in two to three sentences per page. The pumpkin-shaped book and orange foil cover will likely attract youngsters, whether they are Peppa fans or not.

This TV rerun in board-book form has nothing new to offer. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-33922-2

Page Count: 10

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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