Many, but not all, kinds of families.

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ALL KINDS OF FAMILIES

40TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

An updated version of a family-diversity book from the 1970s.

Simon’s revised text strives toward inclusiveness in describing diverse family constellations, and Brannen’s soft, engaging illustrations augment its efforts. Single parents, same-sex parents, multiracial families, and families of diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds are included. And yet while stepfamilies are mentioned, divorce isn’t, and the text is both choppy and redundant as it suggests who might be in a family. For example, one passage reads: “Do you have any stepsisters or stepbrothers? You can be a stepbrother or a stepsister to other people in your family. Did you know that?” And although the text acknowledges family rifts with a line about not getting together frequently (“maybe it’s because the family argues with one another”), a general idealization of family negates the experiences of the most vulnerable children. The lines “From when you were a baby to when you’re a kid, and from when you’re a grown-up and for as long as you live, YOU are always part of your family” exclude children who are adopted at older ages or who are among the 400,000-plus American children without permanent homes. Adoption itself is acknowledged as a way a family grows, but birth families are excluded from consideration.

Many, but not all, kinds of families. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-8075-0286-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2016

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Fun but earnest, this rhyming romp reminds readers that one young person can make a difference.

SOFIA VALDEZ, FUTURE PREZ

From the Questioneers series

Sofia Valdez proves that community organizers of any age can have a positive impact.

After a trash-heap eyesore causes an injury to her beloved abuelo, Sofia springs into action to bring big change to her neighborhood. The simple rhymes of the text follow Sofia on her journey from problem through ideas to action as she garners community support for an idyllic new park to replace the dangerous junk pile. When bureaucracy threatens to quash Sofia’s nascent plan, she digs deep and reflects that “being brave means doing the thing you must do, / though your heart cracks with fear. / Though you’re just in Grade Two.” Sofia’s courage yields big results and inspires those around her to lend a hand. Implied Latinx, Sofia and her abuelo have medium brown skin, and Sofia has straight brown hair (Abuelo is bald). Readers will recognize Iggy Peck, Rosie Revere, and Ada Twist from Beaty’s previous installments in the Questioneers series making cameo appearances in several scenes. While the story connects back to the title and her aptitude for the presidency in only the second-to-last sentence of the book, Sofia’s leadership and grit are themes throughout. Roberts’ signature illustration style lends a sense of whimsy; detailed drawings will have readers scouring each page for interesting minutiae.

Fun but earnest, this rhyming romp reminds readers that one young person can make a difference. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3704-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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