A child-friendly and -centric look at this important observance.

READ REVIEW

THE GIFT OF RAMADAN

Little Sophia wants to fast for the first time during Ramadan. She learns it’s not easy—but also that fasting is not the only way to partake in Ramadan.

Hearing her grandmother refer to “the heart of a person who fasts” as “pretty and sparkly,” Sophia tries to fast on the first day of Ramadan, but she becomes “too hungry.” Grandma comforts her, explaining, “No one expects you to fast for an entire day,” and, “You have a full month to keep trying.” Sophia observes the different ways her parents and Grandma celebrate Ramadan and finds a way to celebrate without fasting the entire day so that with Grandma’s help she feels very “sparkly” indeed. Lumbard captures a few simple ways of celebrating and participating in the month of Ramadan through a young child’s eyes. Sophia learns that Ramadan is more than just fasting; it’s also about prayer and contemplation and about charity and sharing. Horton’s use of bright colors—yellow, blue, and purple tones—helps to highlight the month of Ramadan as a special time full of joy and beauty. The family appears to be Western and multiracial; Grandma and Sophia’s dad have medium-brown skin, Sophia’s mom is white, and Sophia and her little brother have light-brown skin. Grandma covers her hair (even in the house) and Momma does not (except in prayer). An author’s note includes basic information about the month of Ramadan.

A child-friendly and -centric look at this important observance. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8075-2906-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 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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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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