A wonderful depiction of a daily bedtime ritual for a family that happens to be black.

READ REVIEW

SWEET DREAMS, ZAZA

As effectively as Good Night Moon and Grandfather Twilight, this book will help children get ready for sleep.

When it’s Zaza’s bedtime, her six stuffed-animal friends get individual attention as she tucks them in for the night. George Giraffe is so long he requires two beds, over which Zaza stretches his soft blue body out for a rest. The spotted and flowered Bobby gets a tummy tickle; Mo, the snake, hears a song; and Pinkie, the rabbit, gets cuddled. Red bear Rosie, Zaza’s favorite, receives the most special attention. All of this love gets showered back on Zaza when Mommy enters. Mother and daughter both have deep brown skin and natural hair. Zaza’s afro puffs encircle her head, and Mommy wears a full Afro—offering much-needed mirrors for black and brown children. Despite the quietude of this good-night story, the bold, solid-colored, bright background for each image and the contrasting busy patterns on the stuffed animals and Zaza’s bedspread make it feel like a wide-awake story until the final, soothing-pink background lulls readers to sleep. Observant children will also notice that the eyes of the stuffed animals open and close—suggesting that they might be as alive as Zaza.

A wonderful depiction of a daily bedtime ritual for a family that happens to be black. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-60537-461-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Clavis

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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A fun and visually inviting book that encourages children to consider one more “when I grow up” possibility.

CALLING DR. ZAZA

Make room, Doc McStuffins! Another young brown-skinned physician has arrived to attend to every ailment.

Dr. Zaza, who wears a pink-and-white–checked dress and an apron with a red cross on it, looks out at readers from the cover as she checks the heartbeat of a brightly colored, variegated-patterned stuffed rabbit—one of the many stuffed patients she takes care of throughout the book. Dr. Zaza checks Rosie the koala bear’s earache, Bobby the rabbit’s heartbeat, George the giraffe’s sore throat, Pinkie the bunny’s temperature, and Mo the snake’s scratch. When Mo requires a bandage, so does everyone else. And Dr. Zaza delivers. The protagonist’s deep brown skin and afro-puff hairdo offer a mirror for many readers of color and a window for others while also emphasizing that imaginative play around STEM professions should be the purview of children from every background. And even though Dr. Zaza cares only for stuffed animals thus far, her competence and willingness to help both suggest that medicine will likely be a good fit for her. The deeply-saturated, single-color backgrounds establish a warm and inviting mood for Dr. Zaza’s work, who seems more than content to help. Companion title Celebrate with Zaza finds Zaza in a more traditionally feminine role, coordinating Rosie’s birthday party.

A fun and visually inviting book that encourages children to consider one more “when I grow up” possibility. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-60537-375-1

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Clavis

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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The sweet sibling relationship and the focus on Daddy as primary caregiver make this one stand out.

JACOB'S LITTLE SISTER

From the Backpack Baby series

Big brother Jacob helps Daddy take care of mischievous Little Sister in the newest offering in the Backpack Baby board-book series.

Neither Jacob nor his sister rides on Daddy’s back in this book. Here, Jacob walks, and Little Sister rides in a stroller—for a little while anyway. Adorable, grinning Little Sister wears a yellow dress with pink flowers and a matching hat, which she is desperate to jettison. She tosses it off her head, flings it into the water with the ducks, and finally succeeds in getting rid of it by propping it on the head of a passing puppy. While Little Sister’s antics provide comic relief, the real meat of the story is Jacob’s development, specifically the pleasure he gets from taking care of his sister and the bonding time he shares with Daddy. When Little Sister runs toward the duck pond, Jacob runs after her, wrapping his arms around her securely just as she reaches the edge. When the family stops for some ice cream, he and Daddy laugh together as Little Sister makes a mess, and they enjoy a needed rest when she finally takes a nap. The unfussy illustrations feature the three characters against solid backgrounds, emphasizing the interpersonal dynamics at the heart of the story.

The sweet sibling relationship and the focus on Daddy as primary caregiver make this one stand out. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-59572-689-6

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Star Bright

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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