WHAT A FAMILY!

A FRESH LOOK AT FAMILY TREES

Poorly designed for library use but likely to keep detail-oriented children engrossed, this introduction to genetics and genealogy identifies physical characteristics shared among a multicultural gaggle of nearly three dozen cousins. It starts out simply, with little Ollie learning from his Grandpa Max that he looks just like Max’s brother Winthrop at the same age, back in 1924. But in no time, each turn of the page brings something like: “Lili and George’s twin second cousins once removed, Kyla and Katie, have red hair, while their half-sisters, Talisha and Zinzi, have black hair like their father, Henry.” Unfortunately, Isadora leaves all of the terms except “removed” undefined, and has laid out the family tree, from which readers can make sense of these relationships only on the endpapers—much of which will be covered if the flaps are glued down. Rendered in crayon and colored pencil, the accompanying rows and rows of smiling faces, mostly those of children, not only create a bright, happy mood, but are drawn with care, so that the similarities of hair, eyes, noses, body type and other inherited features are easy to spot. But young readers with an interest in the subject are likely to get more from Loreen Leedy’s Who’s Who in My Family? (1995). (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24254-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Patchy work, both visually and teleologically.

YOU'RE HERE FOR A REASON

The sultana of high-fructose sentimentality reminds readers that they really are all that.

Despite the title, we’re actually here for a couple of reasons. In fulsome if vague language Tillman embeds one message, that acts of kindness “may triple for days… / or set things in motion in different ways,” in a conceptually separate proposition that she summarizes thus: “perhaps you forgot— / a piece of the world that is precious and dear / would surely be missing if you weren’t here.” Her illustrations elaborate on both themes in equally abstract terms: a lad releases a red kite that ends up a sled for fox kits, while its ribbons add decorative touches to bird nests and a moose before finally being vigorously twirled by a girl and (startlingly) a pair of rearing tigers. Without transition the focus then shifts as the kite is abruptly replaced by a red ball. Both embodied metaphors, plus children and animals, gather at the end for a closing circle dance. The illustrator lavishes attention throughout on figures of children and wild animals, which are depicted with such microscopically precise realism that every fine hair and feather is visible, but she then floats them slightly above hazy, generic backdrops. The overall design likewise has a slapdash feel, as some spreads look relatively crowded with verses while others bear only a single line or phrase.

Patchy work, both visually and teleologically. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-05626-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

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WAITING FOR BABY

One of a four-book series designed to help the very young prepare for new siblings, this title presents a toddler-and-mother pair (the latter heavily pregnant) as they read about new babies, sort hand-me-downs, buy new toys, visit the obstetrician and the sonographer, speculate and wait. Throughout, the child asks questions and makes exclamations with complete enthusiasm: “How big is the baby? What does it eat? I felt it move! Is it a boy or girl?” Fuller’s jolly pictures present a biracial family that thoroughly enjoys every moment together. It’s a bit oversimplified, but no one can complain about the positive message it conveys, appropriately, to its baby and toddler audience. The other titles in the New Baby series are My New Baby (ISBN: 978-1-84643-276-7), Look at Me! (ISBN: 978-1-84643-278-1) and You and Me (ISBN: 978-1-84643-277-4). (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84643-275-0

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2010

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