A lovely, cousinly twist on the new-baby story

LORETTA'S GIFT

Loretta is excited to find the perfect gift for her new baby cousin.

Loretta’s aunt Esme and uncle Jax are expecting a new baby. Loretta’s mom knits a furry hat, her dad buys a pile of diapers, Uncle Jax builds a cradle, and Aunt Esme fills the nursery with family photos. As the gifts pile up, Loretta realizes she doesn’t have anything to give to the new baby. Even as she frets, Loretta actively takes part in loving and caring for Gabe, till on his first birthday, Aunt Esme assures Loretta that she is the best gift Gabe has ever gotten. Loretta comes to acknowledge that Aunt Esme is right—and that Gabe can never outgrow her love. This warm and affectionate tale will engage readers. Marley’s artwork is whimsically earthy, featuring muted greens and rich browns and weaving in leaves, flowers, and touches of nature as accents. She depicts Loretta, her parents, and Aunt Esme with brown skin and Afro-textured black hair; Uncle Jax has pale skin and straight, brown hair. The important message that quality time is as valuable as gifts bought in a store is familiar and always appreciated. Lovers of Family, by Isabell Monk and illustrated by Janice Lee Porter (2001), and Home in the Rain, by Bob Graham (2017), will enjoy this adorable story featuring a multicultural family.

A lovely, cousinly twist on the new-baby story . (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0681-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force.

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LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET

A young boy yearns for what he doesn’t have, but his nana teaches him to find beauty in what he has and can give, as well as in the city where they live.

CJ doesn’t want to wait in the rain or take the bus or go places after church. But through Nana’s playful imagination and gentle leadership, he begins to see each moment as an opportunity: Trees drink raindrops from straws; the bus breathes fire; and each person has a story to tell. On the bus, Nana inspires an impromptu concert, and CJ’s lifted into a daydream of colors and light, moon and magic. Later, when walking past broken streetlamps on the way to the soup kitchen, CJ notices a rainbow and thinks of his nana’s special gift to see “beautiful where he never even thought to look.” Through de la Peña’s brilliant text, readers can hear, feel and taste the city: its grit and beauty, its quiet moments of connectedness. Robinson’s exceptional artwork works with it to ensure that readers will fully understand CJ’s journey toward appreciation of the vibrant, fascinating fabric of the city. Loosely defined patterns and gestures offer an immediate and raw quality to the Sasek-like illustrations. Painted in a warm palette, this diverse urban neighborhood is imbued with interest and possibility.

This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-25774-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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DONOVAN'S BIG DAY

It may be his mothers’ wedding day, but it’s Donovan’s big day in Newman’s (Heather Has Two Mommies, 1989, etc.) latest picture book about queer family life. Centered on the child’s experience and refreshingly eschewing reference to controversy, the book emerges as a celebration of not only Mommy’s and Mama’s mutual love but progress toward equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. Readers, however, don't know immediately know why it is “a very BIG day” for Donovan or what the “very BIG job” is that he has to do. In his affectionate, humorous gouache paintings with digital finish, Dutton cleverly includes clues in the form of family pictures in an earlier spread set inside their home, and then a later spread shows Donovan in a suit and placing a “little white satin box that Aunt Jennifer gave him” into his pocket, hinting toward his role as ring bearer. But it’s not until the third-to-last spread that he stands with his parents and hands “one shiny gold ring to Mommy [and] one shiny gold ring to Mama.” He, of course, gets to kiss the brides on the last page, lending a happily-ever-after sensibility to the end of this story about a family's new beginning. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 26, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58246-332-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2011

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