AMIRA'S PICTURE DAY

Amira and her brother scan the sky, looking for the sliver-thin crescent moon that will tell them that Eid is the next day.

With her hands decorated, goody bags ready for kids at the masjid (Faruqi uses the Arabic term for mosque throughout), new Eid clothes, and the knowledge that she will be missing school to celebrate Eid, Amira is excited! But then she notices the flyer on the fridge and remembers tomorrow is Picture Day. She doesn’t want to miss her class picture! But the next day, “seeing the masjid, Amira’s sadness floated away. Her mouth popped open. She could hardly recognize it.” She’s happy during Eid prayers and when greeting friends and family—until she remembers Picture Day. But maybe there’s a way she can do both? Faruqi effectively builds up the excitement to celebrate Eid and balances it with Amira’s distress at missing Picture Day—readers will see that both are important. The characters and interactions at the masjid are real, reinforcing a community celebrating Eid, and so are Amira’s interactions with her classmates. Azim’s illustrations pair well with Faruqi’s words, focusing on facial expression as well as body language to highlight the mixed emotions: excitement, sadness, surprise. There is much diversity among the people at the masjid, including hijab styles, other attire, and racial presentation. Amira’s blue, mirror-bedecked shalwar kameez stands out. Her family is of South Asian heritage.

Sweet and sympathetic. (author's note, more about Eid, glossary) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 13, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4019-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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Sweet, reassuring fun—and a story to fully embrace.

SLUG IN LOVE

A slug longs for a hug and finds it unexpectedly.

Doug the slug would really like a hug and plods on, seeking affection. But a caterpillar, bug, spider, and worm want no part of hugging a slug. They are just not feeling it (might they feel sluggish?), voicing their disdain in no uncertain terms with expressions like, “Grimy, slippy!” and “Squelchy, slimy!” What’s a slug to do? Undeterred, Doug keeps trying. He meets Gail, a snail with crimson lipstick and hip, red glasses; she happens to be as grimy and squelchy as he is, so he figures she is the hugger of his dreams. The two embark upon a madcap romantic courtship. Alas, Gail also draws the (slimy) line at hugging Doug. Finally, mournful Doug meets the best hugger and the true love of his life, proving there’s someone for everyone. This charmer will have readers rooting for Doug (and perhaps even wanting to hug him). Expressed in simple, jaunty verses that read and scan smoothly, the brief tale revolves around words that mainly rhyme with Doug and slug. Given that the story stretches vocabulary so well with regard to rhyming words, children can be challenged after a read-aloud session to offer up words that rhyme with slug and snail. The colorful and humorous illustrations are lively and cheerful; googly-eyed Doug is, like the other characters, entertaining and expressive. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sweet, reassuring fun—and a story to fully embrace. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-66590-046-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.

WHY A DAUGHTER NEEDS A MOM

All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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