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SING TO THE MOON

This gentle bedtime story is rich in Ugandan culture and universal nostalgia as it celebrates a boy’s great love for his...

A young boy and his jjajja share memories and wishes in this tender tale set in Uganda.

Have you ever wished to “ride a supernova straight to Mars” or travel to the spice markets of Zanzibar or ride a crane to a large feast? This young Ugandan protagonist awakes from these very dreams to dark clouds and rain. The boy and his grandfather spend the day doing such chores as packing peas, clearing wet bamboo leaves from the veranda, and cleaning the tilapia for a fish stew. With every task, Jjajja shares stories: about a childhood friend and fishing trips with his father. And after dinner, Jjajja shares his love of books filled with beloved tales of African kingdoms. Unfolding in rhyme, Isdahl’s tale amply demonstrates how sharing stories can make even a rainy day full of chores an adventure. Van Doorn’s illustrations capture the story in muted grays, browns, and blues. The stylized typeface gives a touch of texture, and the characters look almost like stick figures with their round heads and thin limbs. Details include a small white dog who joins in each activity with understated whimsy.

This gentle bedtime story is rich in Ugandan culture and universal nostalgia as it celebrates a boy’s great love for his grandfather. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-911373-39-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Lantana

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

Categories:
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ROBOBABY

A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy.

Robo-parents Diode and Lugnut present daughter Cathode with a new little brother—who requires, unfortunately, some assembly.

Arriving in pieces from some mechanistic version of Ikea, little Flange turns out to be a cute but complicated tyke who immediately falls apart…and then rockets uncontrollably about the room after an overconfident uncle tinkers with his basic design. As a squad of helpline techies and bevies of neighbors bearing sludge cake and like treats roll in, the cluttered and increasingly crowded scene deteriorates into madcap chaos—until at last Cath, with help from Roomba-like robodog Sprocket, stages an intervention by whisking the hapless new arrival off to a backyard workshop for a proper assembly and software update. “You’re such a good big sister!” warbles her frazzled mom. Wiesner’s robots display his characteristic clean lines and even hues but endearingly look like vaguely anthropomorphic piles of random jet-engine parts and old vacuum cleaners loosely connected by joints of armored cable. They roll hither and thither through neatly squared-off panels and pages in infectiously comical dismay. Even the end’s domestic tranquility lasts only until Cathode spots the little box buried in the bigger one’s packing material: “TWINS!” (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 52% of actual size.)

A retro-futuristic romp, literally and figuratively screwy. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-544-98731-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Clarion Books

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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JOSÉ AND EL PERRO

Cuándo quieras un perro feliz, look no further.

A young Latine boy finally gets to rescue the dog of his dreams, but training can be a challenge in two languages.

Like many children, José has been dreaming of having a pet of his own, specifically un perro, a dog. Like any good owner, José promptly begins training his new canine companion but soon realizes his rescue mutt, Feliz, knows only words in English. This is a problem because in José’s home everyone speaks both Spanish and English. José and Feliz must rise to the challenge; fortunately, treats and snuggles are great motivators. The narrative uses Spanish words and phrases throughout (“perros blancos,” “¡Yo quiero este!” “¡Sientate!”), usually with English context clues for understanding. This is complex vocabulary for an early reader, and the shifting in phonics from English to Spanish will be challenging for true beginners; the book is best suited for intermediate to advanced readers in dual-language classrooms or homes. Much like Feliz, however, it is sure to find a loving (and bilingual) home. Cheerful illustrations complement the text, helping readers make sense of the narrative. While José and his mother are darker-skinned, his father and sister are lighter-skinned. (This review has been updated for accuracy.)

Cuándo quieras un perro feliz, look no further. (glossary of Spanish-English words) (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 25, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-52116-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

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