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SPARKY’S BARK/EL LADRIDO DE SPARKY

Something of the tenderness of 1960s and ’70s picture books suffuses this bilingual tale of a young girl’s trip with her mother from tropical Latin America to Ohio to visit relatives. Lucy is excited to meet her extended family, but also notes the differences between her world of banana trees and flamingos and their Ohio farm, as well as the difficulties of not being able to make herself understood to English-only speakers. She especially wishes she could communicate her homesickness to Sparky, her cousin Robby’s dog. With Robby’s help, Lucy begins to learn English and to feel more at home. Chapra’s text and its accompanying Spanish translation, full of details and Lucy’s emotions, avoid the choppy simplicity of easy-reader texts for longer and more complex sentences, interweaving Spanish and English together where appropriate. Escrivá’s illustrations are detailed, lushly colored, and employ an accentuated roundness, especially in the over-sized heads of her characters, that combines realism and cartoon. Sweet, languid and full of family warmth, this is perhaps better suited to one-on-one parent-child readings than group read-alouds and should prove especially useful where immigration and separated families are part of the local fabric. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: July 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-053172-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2006

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BECAUSE YOUR DADDY LOVES YOU

Give this child’s-eye view of a day at the beach with an attentive father high marks for coziness: “When your ball blows across the sand and into the ocean and starts to drift away, your daddy could say, Didn’t I tell you not to play too close to the waves? But he doesn’t. He wades out into the cold water. And he brings your ball back to the beach and plays roll and catch with you.” Alley depicts a moppet and her relaxed-looking dad (to all appearances a single parent) in informally drawn beach and domestic settings: playing together, snuggling up on the sofa and finally hugging each other goodnight. The third-person voice is a bit distancing, but it makes the togetherness less treacly, and Dad’s mix of love and competence is less insulting, to parents and children both, than Douglas Wood’s What Dads Can’t Do (2000), illus by Doug Cushman. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 23, 2005

ISBN: 0-618-00361-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2005

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WHERE DO FROGS COME FROM?

The lifecycle of the frog is succinctly summarized in this easy reader for children reading at the late first-grade level. In just one or two sentences per page, Vern details the amazing metamorphosis of the frog from egg to tadpole to adult, even injecting a little humor despite the tight word count. (“Watch out fly! Mmmm!) Large, full-color photographs on white backgrounds clearly illustrate each phase of development. Without any mention of laying eggs or fertilization, the title might be a bit misleading, but the development from black dot egg to full-grown frog is fascinating. A simple chart of the three main lifecycle steps is also included. Lifecycles are part of the standard curriculum in the early elementary grades, and this will be a welcome addition to school and public libraries, both for its informational value and as an easy reader. (Nonfiction/easy reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-15-216304-2

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Green Light/Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2001

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