Another winning addition—Lolo is indeed a star!


From the Lolo Early Reader Series series

Bright-spirited Lolo is as curious, kind, and helpful as ever in this third installment in her eponymous series.

Lolo, who presents as Black, lives with her mama and doting grandmother—Gogo—in South Africa. In four episodic chapters, Lolo mixes up a treat for Mama in “Lolo’s Special Soup”; seeks a noisy monster in “Lolo’s Scary Night”; teaches Gogo about gardening in “Lolo’s Snail Garden”; and goes on a seemingly unending adventure with Gogo in “Lolo’s Holiday.” Readers will relate to Lolo’s earnest attempts to be helpful, her sad and fearful moments, and her excitement at being able to teach Gogo something she learned in school (which is racially integrated). When Mr. Speedy can only take them part of the way home after their holiday visit with Aunty Boni, Gogo sticks out her thumb to obtain a ride with a minibus full of choir members on their way to a church meeting. A fruit-and-vegetable cart drawn by a donkey concludes their eventful trip, which leaves Lolo “floppy-schloppy-tired” and happy to see Mama at the door. This final chapter presents adult readers, particularly teachers, with the opportunity to start conversations on how transportation can be different from country to country, imparting a cross-cultural exploration. Though not an #ownvoices book, this, like the others in the Lolo series, is drawn tenderly and told in a way that honors the characters and their culture.

Another winning addition—Lolo is indeed a star! (Fiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 11, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-946395-51-1

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Catalyst Press

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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Well-meaning and with a lovely presentation, this sentimental effort may be aimed more at adults than kids.


Little girls are given encouragement and assurance so they can meet the challenges of life as they move through the big, wide world.

Delicately soft watercolor-style art depicts naturalistic scenes with a diverse quintet of little girls portraying potential situations they will encounter, as noted by a narrative heavily dependent on a series of clichés. “The stars are high, and you can reach them,” it promises as three of the girls chase fireflies under a star-filled night sky. “Oceans run deep, and you will learn to swim,” it intones as one girl treads water and another leans over the edge of a boat to observe life on the ocean floor. “Your feet will take many steps, my brave little girl. / Let your heart lead the way.” Girls gingerly step across a brook before making their way through a meadow. The point of all these nebulous metaphors seems to be to inculcate in girls the independence, strength, and confidence they’ll need to succeed in their pursuits. Trying new things, such as foods, is a “delicious new adventure.” Though the quiet, gentle text is filled with uplifting words that parents will intuitively relate to or comprehend, the esoteric messages may be a bit sentimental and ambiguous for kids to understand or even connect to. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.5-by-19-inch double-page spreads viewed at 50% of actual size.)

Well-meaning and with a lovely presentation, this sentimental effort may be aimed more at adults than kids. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-30072-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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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

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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