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A celebration of the complexity and care that go into making this Japanese staple.

Get ready for ramen, handmade to order and delightful to devour!

Hiro, a Japanese boy with beige skin and straight, dark hair, loves ramen. Every Sunday night, his father makes this flavorful noodle dish using a process he learned from his father in Hawaii. Hiro carefully observes how his dad gathers ingredients and vigorously stirs, chops, slices, stews, shreds, and more—creating the perfect broth and nice, springy noodles. When Hiro turns 7, he decides to try to make ramen just like his dad does, using his notes and his memory. However, things don’t turn out as planned, and Hiro is devastated. At last, the boy finds his own talent for creating unique bowls that perfectly suit his family’s tastes. Pate’s spirited, manga-esque illustrations feature diagonal panels and dynamic text (accompanied by near-flawless Japanese translations) rendered in a vibrant palette of eye-catching yellows, blues, greens, and oranges. Tanumihardja’s simple yet evocative prose draws readers into the drama and tension of the ramen making and brings to life Hiro’s loving, understanding family; this is a rich depiction of a Japanese child offering a modern take on a traditional dish. Backmatter includes background on the dish, rules for cooking in the kitchen with young chefs, and a recipe for easy miso ramen. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A celebration of the complexity and care that go into making this Japanese staple. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 14, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-66590-435-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

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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

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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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