Nit-picking aside, here be a collection that pint-sized pirates will be pleased to return to again and again.


Mother Goose exchanges sweet niceties for cutlasses, eyepatches, and gold teeth galore in this piratical updating of nursery-rhyme favorites.

If you’ve never wondered what Miss Muffet would look like in a cap decorated with a skull or pondered how Jack Horner would fare with a peg leg, now’s the time to remedy this woeful lack of imagination. Twenty-two classic nursery rhymes get a swashbuckling overhaul as Wee Willie Winkie becomes Pretty Polly Pirate, and Jack Sprat is upgraded to Capt. Jack. The book gets off to a rough start, scansion being its biggest difficulty in poems like “Rub-a-dub-dub” and “One Misty Moisty Morning.” Some poems get only minimal makeovers, merely substituting pirate terms for the original rhymes’ nouns (see: “Rock-a-by, Pirate”). Unsurprisingly, the best poems are the ones that are the most creative. For example, changing “London Bridge Is Falling Down” to “Ye Can Talk Like Pirates Talk” turns the rhyme into inspired interactive storytime fare. Each poem credits its original so that readers needn’t figure out the references from mere context or rhyme scheme. The rambunctious cartoon-style art does its share of the heavy lifting, presenting a nicely diverse array of salty sea dogs (even girls!) that exude boisterous vim and vigor.

Nit-picking aside, here be a collection that pint-sized pirates will be pleased to return to again and again. (Picture book/poetry. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8075-6559-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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A lushly illustrated homage to librarians who provide a welcome and a home away from home for all who enter.


A love letter to libraries.

A Black child, with hair in two puffballs tied with yellow ribbons, a blue dress with a Peter Pan collar, and black patent leather Mary Janes, helps Grandmother with the housework, then, at Grandmother’s suggestion, heads to the library. The child’s eagerness to go, with two books under an arm and one in their hand, suggests that this is a favorite destination. The books’ wordless covers emphasize their endless possibilities. The protagonist’s description of the library makes clear that they are always free to be themselves there—whether they feel happy or sad, whether they’re reading mysteries or recipes, and whether they feel “quick and smart” or “contained and cautious.” Robinson’s vibrant, carefully composed digital illustrations, with bright colors that invite readers in and textures and patterns in every image, effectively capture the protagonist’s passion for reading and appreciation for a space where they feel accepted regardless of disposition. In her author’s note, Giovanni states that she spent summers visiting her grandmother in Knoxville, Tennessee, where she went to the Carnegie Branch of the Lawson McGhee Library. She expresses gratitude for Mrs. Long, the librarian, who often traveled to the main library to get books that Giovanni could not find in their segregated branch. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A lushly illustrated homage to librarians who provide a welcome and a home away from home for all who enter. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-358-38765-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Versify/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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A testament to the universality of love.


From the Canticos series

An expanded explanation of love in both English and Spanish.

Several animal personalities pose the question, “What is love?” and in a series of lift-the-flap responses present various emotional scenarios. Little Elephant asks Spider, “Is it the joy of having you around?” Spider asks, “Is it the way you lift me when I’m down?” Each page corresponds to a flap that reveals one of a multitude of feelings love can evoke in either an English or Spanish rhyme, which are not direct translations of each other. An interspersed refrain notes, “Amor for the Spanish, / and love en inglés. / Love in any language / always means the same.” A palette of pastels and purple and pink hues dominate as hearts abound on each page, surrounding the characters, who are adorable though on the overly sweet side. The characters are from the bilingual preschool series Canticos, though it will work even among those without knowledge of the show. Children more fluent in Spanish will be better able to appreciate this, and those familiar with the show will recognize the signature characters, including “Los Pollitos” (Little Chickies). (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A testament to the universality of love. (Board book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-945635-72-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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