A wonderful tribute to the father-son bond.

The view from Papa’s shoulders is sometimes the best view in the whole world.

In an endearing homage to fathers and sons, a boy relates his daily routine of walking to school with different family members. Our young narrator tells us that walks to school with Mama take them past the rumble and flash of fast traffic, cars and trucks and feet moving to their own beats; walks to school with Mama always end with kisses. When he walks with Gogo, they veer off the beaten path to avoid the busy roads, and with Tata, who has to stop to rest, the walk ends with a super big hug. But on the rare days when Papa walks him to school before heading to work, our narrator is treated to the grandest view—from atop strong shoulders, overlooking the world. Daly delivers the tale with musicality and joy through uncomplicated yet poignant prose. He captures the feelings of a simple routine with a delight that’s refreshing, witty, and just plain fun. With fluid lines highlighted with primary colors, the art is imbued with the same energy, bringing to life a child-centered world. The boy and his family are Black; references to Gogo and Tata (Zulu words for grandmother and grandfather, respectively) suggest a South African setting. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A wonderful tribute to the father-son bond. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-946395-68-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Catalyst Press

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022



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


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

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