With modern children learning an elder’s wisdom, this makes for a lovely day out


A current-day Interior Salish girl named Nikki and her two friends spend a day with Yayah, Nikki’s grandmother, learning about edible plants.

Nikki and Yayah are tanning a deer hide when they notice a rainbow blooming across the sky. When neighbors Jamesie Pookins and Lenny join them, Yayah asks if the children know which edible plants are ready to be gathered in the spring. They have many answers: wild rhubarb, wild celery, lightning mushrooms, and more. Even though they admit they don’t like how mushrooms taste, they want to help Yayah gather. Soon, everyone climbs into Auntie Karen’s minivan, and they leave to hunt for plants. As they do, Yayah teaches them which plants are safe to eat and which are not, all the while also teaching them the Nle?kepmxcín words for each plant, too. The dialogue naturally folds helpful pronunciation cues for several of the words into the text, and all words are printed with phonetic pronunciations in the closing glossary. Campbell’s (Interior Salish/Métis) quiet story weaves botanical facts with respect for the natural world, naming the plants in the Nle?kepmxcín language. Flett’s (Cree/Métis) colorful, calming illustrations blend very well with the tone of the text, often gracefully incorporating the pulled-out Nle?kepmxcín in display type. The flowers pop against the dark green grass, the relative smallness of the human figures in the landscape emphasizing their relationship with nature.

With modern children learning an elder’s wisdom, this makes for a lovely day out . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-56656-041-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Crocodile/Interlink

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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Sincere and wholehearted.

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The NBA star offers a poem that encourages curiosity, integrity, compassion, courage, and self-forgiveness.

James makes his debut as a children’s author with a motivational poem touting life habits that children should strive for. In the first-person narration, he provides young readers with foundational self-esteem encouragement layered within basketball descriptions: “I promise to run full court and show up each time / to get right back up and let my magic shine.” While the verse is nothing particularly artful, it is heartfelt, and in her illustrations, Mata offers attention-grabbing illustrations of a diverse and enthusiastic group of children. Scenes vary, including classrooms hung with student artwork, an asphalt playground where kids jump double Dutch, and a gym populated with pint-sized basketball players, all clearly part of one bustling neighborhood. Her artistry brings black and brown joy to the forefront of each page. These children evince equal joy in learning and in play. One particularly touching double-page spread depicts two vignettes of a pair of black children, possibly siblings; in one, they cuddle comfortably together, and in the other, the older gives the younger a playful noogie. Adults will appreciate the closing checklist of promises, which emphasize active engagement with school. A closing note very generally introduces principles that underlie the Lebron James Family Foundation’s I Promise School (in Akron, Ohio). (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 15% of actual size.)

Sincere and wholehearted. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-297106-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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The tips garnered here could be used to scare just about anyone, and for those scared of ghosts, at least your carpets will...


From the How To... series

Reagan and Wildish continue their How to… series with this Halloween-themed title.

If you’ve ever had a hankering to scare a ghost, this handbook is what you need. In it, a pair of siblings shows readers “how to attract a ghost” (they like creepily carved pumpkins and glitter), identify a ghost (real ghosts “never, ever open doors”), and scare a ghost (making faces, telling scary stories). Also included is a warning not to go too far—a vacuum is over-the-top on the scary chart for ghosts. Once you’ve calmed your ghost again, it’s time to play (just not hide-and-seek or on a trampoline) and then decide on costumes for trick-or-treating. Your ghost will also need to learn Halloween etiquette (knocking instead of floating through doors). The title seems a little misleading considering only two spreads are dedicated to trying to scare a ghost, but the package as a whole is entertaining. Wildish’s digital cartoon illustrations are as bright as ever, and the brother and sister duo have especially expressive faces. Both are white-presenting, as are all the other characters except for some kids in the very last spread.

The tips garnered here could be used to scare just about anyone, and for those scared of ghosts, at least your carpets will be clean from all the vacuuming. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-0190-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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