THE LITTLE TREE

Full of gentle rhythm and repetition, this deceptively simple, layered poetic tale will charm its way into readers’ hearts...

Using a tree and her seed as metaphor, Van draws on her immigrant background to demonstrate parental love for a child, even if it means letting go.

An anthropomorphic little tree is worried that the forest around her is no longer flourishing and wants a better life for her little seed. “Are trees this small everywhere?” she asks a brown bird and learns that there is a place “where trees grow a hundred feet tall” and “leaves are so thick, you can sit in the shade all day!” The little tree decides to toss her seed into the wind. Over the years, the little tree wonders what has become of her baby seed. “Is it strong and tall? Does it remember me at all?” When the brown bird returns, it tells her about a very special tree; perhaps that is her little seed? The little tree receives her answer when an elegant leaf twirls and shimmers right into her armlike branches. Adinolfi expertly layers mixed media comprising colored pencils, gouache, stamping, and more to create texture and movement on the static page. Add vibrant colors in saturated hues, and the story’s dreamlike environs come to life.  

Full of gentle rhythm and repetition, this deceptively simple, layered poetic tale will charm its way into readers’ hearts and begs to be read over and over again. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-939547-19-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Creston

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

J.D. AND THE FAMILY BUSINESS

From the J.D. the Kid Barber series , Vol. 2

A strong second outing for Dillard and J.D.

Breakout kid barber J.D. embraces a summer of opportunity.

Readers met J.D. Jones just as he took his hometown of Meridian, Mississippi, by storm, winning himself community acclaim and a chair at the revered Hart and Sons barbershop in series opener J.D. and the Great Barber Battle(2021). What’s next for the haircut prodigy? School’s just getting out, and there’s so much life happening outside—if only one can escape home learning with the grandparents. J.D.’s sister, Vanessa, brings along multitalented mutual friend Jessyka to share an ambitious challenge: “Let’s start a YouTube channel!” Can they get millions of views and wow the whole world? They are already amazing at haircuts and hairstyles—all they need is to learn how to make a great YouTube video. The story models strategies for scripting short videos reflecting the templates of viral YouTube hair tutorials, inviting readers to not only see the journey of the characters, but maybe also practice these skills at home. This book is bound to educate all about some of the most storied and cherished traditions within the Black community. Bringing in Vanessa is a great touch to extend the series across gender, and hopefully she’ll get a chance to lead her own adventures. This book blends skill-building, entrepreneurship, and strong family values to give young Black children visions of what’s possible when they follow their passions and embrace their community.

A strong second outing for Dillard and J.D. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-11155-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Kokila

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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RAFI AND ROSI MUSIC!

From the Rafi and Rosi series

A welcome, well-researched reflection of cultural pride in the early-reader landscape.

The fourth installment in Delacre’s early-reader series centers on the rich musical traditions of Puerto Rico, once again featuring sibling tree frogs Rafi and Rosi Coquí.

Readers learn along with Rafi and Rosi as they explore bomba, plena, and salsa in three chapters. A glossary at the beginning sets readers up well to understand the Spanish vocabulary, including accurate phoneticization for non-Spanish speakers. The stories focus on Rafi and Rosi’s relationship within a musical context. For example, in one chapter Rafi finds out that he attracts a larger audience playing his homemade güiro with Rosi’s help even though he initially excluded her: “Big brothers only.” Even when he makes mistakes, as the older brother, Rafi consoles Rosi when she is embarrassed or angry at him. In each instance, their shared joy for music and dance ultimately shines through any upsets—a valuable reflection of unity. Informational backmatter and author’s sources are extensive. Undoubtedly these will help teachers, librarians, and parents to develop Puerto Rican cultural programs, curriculum, or home activities to extend young readers’ learning. The inclusion of instructions to make one’s own homemade güiro is a thoughtful addition. The Spanish translation, also by Delacre and published simultaneously, will require a more advanced reader than the English one to recognize and comprehend contractions (“pa’bajo-pa-pa’rriba”) and relatively sophisticated vocabulary.

A welcome, well-researched reflection of cultural pride in the early-reader landscape. (Early reader. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-89239-429-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Children's Book Press

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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