A sweet first poetry collection takes young readers through the seasons.

MY MAGIC WAND

GROWING WITH THE SEASONS

Poems with kid appeal.

In the opening, titular poem, the main character declares that she is 5 years old. The poems that follow encompass the four seasons and explore topics that are meaningful to the age group, such as art projects, gardening with Mom, taking care of a pet, and more. The poems are accompanied by vivid illustrations to bring the symbolic language to life. Mora makes use of alliteration, onomatopoeia, and refrain to keep verses interesting. She reminds readers in the author’s note that not all poems rhyme, and she demonstrates this with a compilation of poems that largely don’t but still provide satisfying read-aloud potential. Each poem is a snapshot of what feels most important to a kindergarten-age child, including the death of a friend’s pet snail. As the poems continue, the passage of time is indicated with the lengthening of the protagonist’s hair, and the collection ends with a sixth birthday party illustration and poem. A handful of Spanish words and phrases appear in several poems, including one titled “Speaking Spanish,” in which the family travels to Mexico, but it is not a bilingual book. The main character, modeled on Mora’s granddaughter, has peach skin with blond hair and brown eyes. Other characters appear to have light brown or white skin and brown hair and eyes.

A sweet first poetry collection takes young readers through the seasons. (Picture book/poetry. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64379-085-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children.

AN ABC OF EQUALITY

Social-equity themes are presented to children in ABC format.

Terms related to intersectional inequality, such as “class,” “gender,” “privilege,” “oppression,” “race,” and “sex,” as well as other topics important to social justice such as “feminism,” “human being,” “immigration,” “justice,” “kindness,” “multicultural,” “transgender,” “understanding,” and “value” are named and explained. There are 26 in all, one for each letter of the alphabet. Colorful two-page spreads with kid-friendly illustrations present each term. First the term is described: “Belief is when you are confident something exists even if you can’t see it. Lots of different beliefs fill the world, and no single belief is right for everyone.” On the facing page it concludes: “B is for BELIEF / Everyone has different beliefs.” It is hard to see who the intended audience for this little board book is. Babies and toddlers are busy learning the names for their body parts, familiar objects around them, and perhaps some basic feelings like happy, hungry, and sad; slightly older preschoolers will probably be bewildered by explanations such as: “A value is an expression of how to live a belief. A value can serve as a guide for how you behave around other human beings. / V is for VALUE / Live your beliefs out loud.”

Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children. (Board book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-742-8

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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A promising approach—but too underpowered to reach orbital velocity.

STARRY SKIES

LEARN ABOUT THE CONSTELLATIONS ABOVE US

Young earthlings turn starry skies into playscapes in this first look at constellations.

On a page first glimpsed through a big die-cut hole in the front cover, Chagollan promises that stars “tell a thousand stories.” She goes on to describe brief scenarios in which residents of Earth interact with 15 Northern Hemisphere constellations. These range from Benjamin’s battle with a fierce dragon beneath Draco to a trio of unnamed ducklings who use the Swan to “find their way home.” Six further starry clusters bearing only labels are crowded into the final spread. In illustrations composed of thin white lines on matte black backgrounds (the characters formed by the stars are glossy), Aye colors significant stars yellow, connects them with dots, and encloses them in outlines of mythological figures that are as simply drawn as the animals and humans (and mermaid) below. As a practical introduction, this has little to offer budding sky watchers beyond a limited set of constellations—two, the Big Dipper and the Summer Triangle, are not official constellations at all but classified as asterisms—that are inconsistently labeled in Latin or English or both. Despite a closing invitation to go out and “find these stars in the sky,” the book provides no sky maps or verbal guidelines that would make that actually possible.

A promising approach—but too underpowered to reach orbital velocity. (Informational picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63322-509-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walter Foster Jr.

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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