A vibrant, reverent celebration of the godfather of salsa.

TITO PUENTE, MAMBO KING / TITO PUENTE, REY DEL MAMBO

Brown and López, who previously teamed for the award-winning My Name Is Celia (2004), collaborate anew in this energetic bilingual tribute to the salsa drummer and band leader extraordinaire.

Brown’s narrative, simply phrased and peppered with exclamation points, takes her preschool and primary audience from Tito’s toddlerhood, banging “spoons and forks on pots and pans,” through childhood loves: drum lessons, dancing and stickball on the streets of Harlem. Bouncing through the musician’s adulthood, Brown highlights early gigs, a Navy stint (where he learned to play sax) and regular shows at the Palladium in New York City. Puente’s dream of heading his own band comes true in a single page turn (though López’s depiction of the now white-haired drummer does attest to time’s passage). A percussive refrain, fun to read and hear, pops up as part of the Spanish text but resonates in either language: “¡Tum Tica! / ¡Tac Tic! / ¡Tum Tic! / ¡Tom Tom!” López’s pictures, layered acrylics on prepared wooden boards, convey salsa’s rhythmic exuberance via a riotous palette that includes electric orange, chocolate brown, pale teal, and touches of pink and purple. Multihued swirls and plumes emanate from Tito’s timbales and drumsticks; Celia Cruz (a frequent collaborator) soars in a costume whose fuchsia feathers seem to morph from the sea green waves below.

A vibrant, reverent celebration of the godfather of salsa.   (biographical note; brief musical notation for rumba beat included in the text) (Bilingual picture book/biography. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-122783-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Rayo/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2013

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way.

NOAH CHASES THE WIND

A young boy sees things a little differently than others.

Noah can see patterns in the dust when it sparkles in the sunlight. And if he puts his nose to the ground, he can smell the “green tang of the ants in the grass.” His most favorite thing of all, however, is to read. Noah has endless curiosity about how and why things work. Books open the door to those answers. But there is one question the books do not explain. When the wind comes whistling by, where does it go? Noah decides to find out. In a chase that has a slight element of danger—wind, after all, is unpredictable—Noah runs down streets, across bridges, near a highway, until the wind lifts him off his feet. Cowman’s gusty wisps show each stream of air turning a different jewel tone, swirling all around. The ribbons gently bring Noah home, setting him down under the same thinking tree where he began. Did it really happen? Worthington’s sensitive exploration leaves readers with their own set of questions and perhaps gratitude for all types of perspective. An author’s note mentions children on the autism spectrum but widens to include all who feel a little different.

An invitation to wonder, imagine and look at everything (humans included) in a new way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-60554-356-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Redleaf Lane

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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