Next book


A love letter to hard work and shared legacy.

A little girl teaches her mechanic grandfather “the importance of taking care of old and forgotten things.”

In the garage, Ju-Girl works hard to help Granddad fix cars for their Jamaican community. The two take a break to sip Ting on the bed of Granddad’s pickup truck. As Granddad tells stories of his younger self, Ju-Girl learns how Blue Pickup connects her to the history of her community—Granddad drove Blue Pickup to deliver everything from newspapers to Jamaican calico cloth. But Ting time and daydreams must come to an end, because there’s work to be done and cars to be fixed. Still, Ju-Girl believes Blue Pickup can be restored to its former glory, perhaps with just an oil swap, new brakes, and a new battery—all of which she’s learned to recognize from dutifully assisting her granddad. Convinced, Granddad does all the fixes short of checking the oil, saving that for the excited little girl, who has the savvy of a veteran mechanic. As the two cruise around town, taking in the history and present of their vibrant neighborhood and picking up a socket set specifically for Ju-Girl, readers are left with the sense that all can be fixed with the right tools…and taking time out for Ting. Lively, richly saturated illustrations bring to life Ju-Girl’s beloved community, while the simple yet vivid text, filled with sensory descriptions, captures a child’s perspective perfectly.

A love letter to hard work and shared legacy. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9780063159877

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

Next book


Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

Next book


A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

Close Quickview